The term "microbiome" refers to the structure and function of the complete microbial community and its environment (including other organisms). This includes the understanding of relationships and functions at systems levels.
Although researchers have been studying the interactions between microorganisms in communities and their environments for over a century, microbiome inquiry has exploded due to the emergence of relatively affordable high-throughput sequencing technologies, which allow for the testing of formerly recalcitrant hypotheses. Ultimately research will provide insight into how organisms and the environment function as a system.
The goal of the Penn State Microbiome Center is to support transformative, interdisciplinary research in microbiomes by fostering long-term working relationships while simultaneously providing infrastructure and resources needed for increasing diversity and breadth of interdisciplinary microbiome research at Penn State. This will include structured and tacit educational opportunities unique to Penn State.