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The Human Skin Virome: Diversity, Ecology, and Human Identification

Ema H Graham, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The human skin is the first point of defense to the outside world. Achieving and maintaining microbiome symbiosis is imperative in maintaining cellular immune homeostasis on the skin. Divergence and dysbiosis of microbial populations can result in once commensal and non-infections organisms becoming pathogenic, resulting in a myriad of infections and skin associated diseases. Understanding the diversity, ecology, and intricate and ever evolving pathogen-host relationships of these microorganisms that inhabit the human skin is imperative for human health implications. This doctoral dissertation aims to address the viral component of the human skin microbiome - the human skin virome. Viruses have the ability to infect all forms of life and thus have the ability to greatly impact or maintain microbial communities on the skin. Despite viruses being the most diverse and abundant biological entity on this planet, there is little known about the virosphere (i.e., total viral diversity) and how viruses contribute in shaping ecosystems in which they inhabit. This doctoral dissertation aims to address the following: 1. The human skin virome diversity and taxonomic assessment of novel skin associated viruses; 2. Its ability to shape microbial populations on the skin through predation, commensalism, and horizontal gene transfer; 3. Skin virome ecology and stability over time; 4. Prevalence of environmentally contracted viruses and novel emerging zoonotic viral populations on the skin; 5. The individualization and stability of the human skin virome for Forensic applications.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Graham, Ema H, "The Human Skin Virome: Diversity, Ecology, and Human Identification" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29323427.