Ophelia S. Venturelli

Associate Professor, Bacteriology Affiliate, Chemical & Biological Engineering Affiliate Lab Website venturelli@wisc.edu(608) 263-7017

3204C HF DeLuca Biochemical Sciences Building
440 Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706-1535


B.S., Stanford University
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Postdoctoral, University of California, Berkeley


Understanding and engineering microbial communities across space and time

The Venturelli Lab aims to understand and engineer the spatiotemporal behaviors of microbial communities. We seek to elucidate the molecular and ecological design principles of microbial communities using tools from systems & synthetic biology. Our lab uses microfabrication methods to probe how spatial heterogeneity influences microbial communities and develops high-throughput methods to study microbial interactions in microbiomes. A major goal is to design novel strategies to precisely shift microbiomes to desired metabolic states.

We are fascinated by the complexity of the human gut microbiome and how to control microbiome functions. We study how microbial interaction networks impact the assembly, stability and functions of the human gut microbiome. In addition, we design novel circuits in key commensal or probiotic bacteria to sense and respond to environmental stimuli for therapeutic applications.

Schematic of a microbial interaction network



Schematic of a microbial interaction network highlighting they key intracellular networks and metabolites mediating each interaction.

Photo of Ophelia S. Venturelli

Areas of Expertise

  • Cell Structure & Signaling
  • Chemical Biology & Enzymology
  • Gene Expression & RNA Biology
  • Quantitative Biology
  • Systems & Synthetic Biology