The EcoFAB initiative was announced in 2015 as a cross-functional team of biologists, geologists, and ecologists from Berkeley Lab to provide critical new insights into ecosystem processes through the creation of controlled model ecosystems in which microorganisms and host responses can be monitored in response to additional or changing variables. This program is in close collaboration between Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology (EGSB), Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and Climate & Ecosystem Sciences (EESA) Divisions.

Fabricated ecosystems (EcoFABs) consist of an autoclavable physical chamber (enabling gnotobiotic studies), a target host organism (optional), growth medium (e.g. soil, sand, media, etc.), and the microbial communities to be tested. Great effort is made to develop standardized and reproducible systems to enable scientists to build on each other’s work. The exact format of the EcoFAB depends on the experimental system and scientific focus, but  typically includes capabilities for imaging and omics analysis.


Explore ongoing initiatives involving the EcoFAB devices.




Meet the team of scientists developing the EcoFAB technology

Jo Handelsman
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Christopher Henry
Argonne National Lab
Kirsten Hofmockel
Pacific Northwest National Lab
Caroline Masiello
Rice University
Dianne Newman
Trent Northen
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
James Tiedje
Michigan State University
John Vogel
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Karsten Zengler
UC San Diego

The EcoBOT

Videography: Marilyn Sargent

EcoFAB fabrication and development

Learn more about the EcoFAB in action

Annual Reports