Katherine Amato Biological anthropology

Research Interests

I study the gut microbiota in the broad context of host ecology and evolution. Specifically, my research integrates the gut microbiota into models of host bioenergetics to understand microbial influences on host nutrition and metabolism, and the implications for host behavior, physiology, life history, and health. I use data from wild, non-human primates to explore these interactions and their impacts on hosts in a selective environment and apply the same ecological and evolutionary frameworks to human-gut microbe interactions. More recently, I have also begun to generate data from captive non-human primates and mice that allow me to complement my observational work in humans and non-human primates with more direct investigations of cause and effect. As a result of these multiple perspectives, as well as the combined use of behavioral, molecular, physiological, and nutritional measures, my work is highly interdisciplinary. My ultimate research goal is to effectively incorporate evolutionary perspectives into human microbiome research, providing novel avenues of inquiry and thereby advancing a range of fields from biomedical and clinical research to evolutionary theory.

Selected Publications

Host specificity of the gut microbiome. Mallott EK and Amato KR. Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2021 May 27:epub before print.

Convergence of human and Old World monkey gut microbiomes demonstrates the importance of human ecology over phylogeny. Amato KR, Mallott EK, McDonald D, Dominy NJ, Goldberg T, Lambert JE, Swedell L, Metcalf JL, Gomez A, Britton GAO, Stumpf RM, Leigh SR, and Knight R. Genome Biology. 2019 October 8;20:201.

Shifting Climates, Foods, and Diseases: The Human Microbiome through Evolution. Amato KR, Jeyakumar T, Poinar H, and Gros P. BioEssays. 2019 October;41(10):1900034.

Evolutionary trends in host physiology outweigh dietary niche in structuring primate gut microbiomes. Amato KR, Sanders JG, Song SJ, Nute M, Metcalf JL, Thompson LR, Morton JT, Amir A, McKenzie VJ, Humphrey G, Gogul G, Gaffney J, Baden AL, Britton GAO, Cuozzo FP, Di Fiore A, Dominy NJ, Goldberg TL, Gomez A, Kowalewski MM, Lewis RJ, Link A, Sauther ML, Tecot S, White BA, Nelson KE, Stumpf RM, Knight R, and Leigh SR. ISME Journal. 2019 March;13(3):576-587.

Habitat degradation impacts black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra) gastrointestinal microbiomes. Amato KR, Yeoman CJ, Kent A, Righini N, Carbonero F, Estrada A, Gaskins HR, Stumpf RM, Yildirim S, Torralba M, Gillis M, Wilson BA, Nelson KE, White BA, and Leigh SR. ISME Journal. 2013 July;7(7):1344-1353.

View all publications by Katherine Amato listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).