College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

UC Riverside enters collaboration with GALT to advance microbiome research

Five research projects will use the company’s high-throughput microbial isolation and cultivation system
By Holly Ober |

The UC Riverside Microbiome Initiative and California-based General Automation Lab Technologies, or GALT, have partnered to advance plant pathology, environmental microbiology, and insect and human gut microbiome studies.

As part of this collaboration, GALT will support five UC Riverside research projects that will use the company’s Prospector® high-throughput microbial isolation and cultivation system to generate banks of live microbial isolates.

The obtained microbial isolates will be used in five selected projects to achieve diverse  outcomes including: unravelling  the function of the citrus microbiome to enhance sustainable citrus production through microbe-mediated processes; studying the plant root and soil microbiome to isolate organisms that will aid in the remediation of polluted soil; identifying microbes from bee guts that will help control parasite infections; and studying the impact of human gut microbial populations on responsiveness to vaccines.

“The UC Riverside Microbiome Initiative is building a collaborative ecosystem from our nearly 100 diverse faculty and Initiative members,” said Quinn McFrederick, the Initiative’s Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Entomology in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UC Riverside. “The GALT Prospector technology will fast-track our ability to get to the experimental phase of our projects.  I am incredibly excited to begin this collaboration.” 

“We are pleased to house the GALT Prospector technology in a dedicated laboratory within our new Life Sciences Incubator on the UC Riverside campus.  The partnership with GALT is the result of our ongoing collaboration with Vertical Venture Partners and General Inception, and it aims to increase access to state-of-the-art instrumentation for our research community to accelerate research discoveries and innovation” said Rosibel Ochoa, associate vice chancellor for technology partnerships at UC Riverside.

GALT’s unique high-throughput and scalable microbial cultivation array technology allows parallel cultivation of thousands of microcolonies, thereby simplifying and accelerating microbiome research.  The system improves the capability and capacity of microbiome research laboratories to screen, isolate and analyze difficult-to-culture or less abundant microbes from complex microbiome samples.

“We are pleased to partner with UC Riverside to support the great work by faculty and staff to expand our understanding of diverse and complex microbial communities,” said Peter Christey, co-founder and chief executive officer of GALT. “We look forward to working with UC Riverside’s Microbiome Initiative and sharing the results of our collaboration with the global research community.”

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