Aylward is also an affiliate faculty member of the systems biology program, part of the Academy of Integrated Science within the College of Science. He focuses his research on microbial ecology and diversity, and genomics and metagenomics. The Aylward Lab, which he runs, focuses on understanding the processes that shape the structure and function of microbial communities with the ultimate goal of understanding how community- or ecosystem-level processes emerge from the activities of discrete microbial organisms.
He recently co-published a paper that concerns a large time-series analysis of microbial communities in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, showing the first evidence that diverse viruses have distinct diel cycles, such as intracellular infective activities mainly in the afternoon and evening. The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Aylward earned a bachelor’s degree in in biochemistry from the University of Arizona in 2008 and a doctoral degree in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013, with postdoctoral research work following at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Aylward is one of 22 tenured and tenure-track faculty members to join the College of Science and the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience this year.
Written by Mari Botha, of Ashburn, Virginia, a junior double majoring in Economics and English.