Berkeley Lab



Environmental Microbiology

ENIGMA’s Field Microbiology researchers work with microbial communities in the environment to investigate how biological structure and function relate to critical biochemical conditions/changes.

Microbial Physiology

Research in ENIGMA’s Lab Microbiology component is directly supported by the other three components and focuses on the biology and community of identified key microorganisms and their community partners.


ENIGMA’s Computation component is responsible for extracting meaningful and statistically significant patterns from large and complex biological datasets.

Biotechnology Development

Researchers in ENIGMA’s Biotechnology component are expanding the scope of capabilities by developing and applying a suite of technological tools that will provide systems-level insights into microbial activity.

Microbes and the communities they form, are intrinsically linked to their environment across multiple scales of size. Within a single microbe, networks of molecular interactions process and respond to environmental signals. These responses can elicit meaningful changes in the microbe’s behavior, which in turn can elicit meaningful changes in the collective behavior of the microbial community. Changes in the collective behavior of microbial communities can result in significant environmental changes. The ultimate goal of the ENIGMA SFA research is to generate a quantitative understanding of phenomena across these multiple scales so that scientists can predict and rationally alter the behavioral responses of microbes and their communities to obtain desired environmental goals. ENIGMA research is divided into four components.

ENIGMA Mission Goals Align with the Microbes-to-Biomes (M2B) Effort

Microbes to Biomes“The M2B initiative is designed to explore and reveal the interactions of microbes with one another and with their environment – interactions that are vital to the Earth’s future. To jumpstart the discovery process, M2B is targeting two key systems: the soil-plant biome and the gut microbiome. Research areas include Food and Fuel Production, Carbon Management, Environmental Stewardship, and Health and Environment.”

Microbes to Biomes Website →