Mikhail Tikhonov

Assistant Professor

Office Contact Information


Physics Department, CB 1105
Washington University
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA

Research Interests

The health of our planet, and our own, is shaped by microbial communities that harbor hundreds of coexisting "species". Their study is a very active and exciting field: an enormous amount of data is now available, with more being collected every day, and yet we still know very little about these microbial ecosystems. The challenge is not just experimental and technological: it is also theoretical. How should we be describing these systems, when even the basic concepts of "species" and "fitness" become ill-defined? How do we link composition to function? And more generally, what if our macroscopic intuition about ecology and evolution is simply wrong at the scale of microbial life? To make progress, data is essential, but not sufficient: we need both theory and theory-driven experiments.

Prof. Tikhonov's research lies at the intersection of statistical physics, bioinformatics and microbial ecology.

Other interests include genetic regulatory networks, developmental biology and information theory.

Selected Publications

  • Tikhonov M, Monasson R (2017). Collective phase in resource competition in a highly diverse ecosystem. Phys Rev Lett 118, 048103.
  • Tikhonov M (2016). Community-level cohesion without cooperation. eLife 5, e15747.
  • Sonnenburg ED, Smits SA, Tikhonov M, Higginbottom SK, Wingreen NS, Sonnenburg JL (2016). Diet-induced extinctions in the gut microbiota compounds over generations. Nature 529, 212-215
  • Tikhonov M, Leach RW, Wingreen NS (2015). Interpreting 16S metagenomic data without clustering to achieve sub-OTU resolution. ISME J 9, 68-80.

Mikhail (Michael) Tikhonov's Complete Publications List


2009-2014 PhD, Princeton University
2006-2009 Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France
2003-2006 Moscow State University (Physics); Independent University of Moscow (Mathematics)

Professional History

2018-present Assistant Professor, Washington University
2017-2018 Postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University
2014-2017 Postdoctoral fellow, Harvard University