Sean Kearney

MIT 48-102
15 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

skearney at mit dot edu





I am a Simons Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Marine Microbial Ecology. I entered the field of microbial oceanography after spending my PhD studying the ecology of bacteria living in human and animal guts, where I became interested in connecting sub-cellular and molecular phenomena with emergent host phenotypes. Microbial processes in the ocean span much grander spatial and temporal scales, yet ecosystem scale behaviors stil emerge from the evolutionary dynamics occurring at the level of single cells and molecules. My goal is to integrate findings from genetic perturbation of picocyanobacteria and associated marine bacteria with inferences about ecosystem-scale phenomena. 


2018 Ph.D. Biological Engineering, MIT

2013 B.S. Biological Engineering, Mathematics & Statistics, Purdue University

Academic Appointments:

2019 Postdoctoral Scholar, MIT

2018 - 2019 JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow, Keio University


Google Scholar 

Kearney, S. M., Gibbons, S. M., Erdman, S. E., & Alm, E. J. (2018). Orthogonal dietary niche enables reversible engraftment of a gut bacterial commensal. Cell Reports, 24(7), 1842–1851.

Kearney, S. M., Gibbons, S. M., Poyet, M., Gurry, T., Bullock, K., Allegretti, J. R., Alm, E. J. (2018). Endospores and other lysis-resistant bacteria comprise a widely shared core community within the human microbiota. The ISME Journal, 1.