Carly Muletz Wolz

Photo of Carly Muletz Wolz Molecular Pathogen Scientist
Smithsonian Institution
Phone: 202-633-3329

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Research Disciplines: Research Interests:

Microbiome, Amphibians, Chytrid, Disease, Bacteria, Fungi, Health, Batrachochytrium

View Carly's CV

Biographical Sketch

Carly R. Muletz Wolz is a microbial ecologist. She is fascinated by how some microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses) cause disease, while other microbes prevent disease. Her research focuses on understanding the context of why some microbes cause harm, while others are beneficial. She uses a suite of tools in field and lab settings to improve understanding of host-pathogen-microbiome dynamics, including microbiology, molecular biology, ancient DNA and statistics. Muletz Wolz’s findings help guide conservation action and address fundamental questions on host-pathogen dynamics.

Muletz Wolz’s projects include:

  • Identifying mechanisms leading to amphibian host defenses against pathogens
  • Determining if Hawaiian native birds were preyed upon by invasive rats using microbial forensics
  • Quantifying microbial and mammalian co-diversification in mammal milks
  • Identifying relationships between gut microbiomes and animal health in zoo populations
Muletz Wolz uses an interdisciplinary approach to address important topics in wildlife disease. She believes it is critical that we understand how diseases emerge and use that information to tackle the underlying cause of disease and save species. The causes of disease range from infectious microorganisms, such as bacterial and viral pathogens, to genetic and autoimmune disorders. Infectious microorganisms often move around the globe via commerce to new locations where they can kill wildlife species that have never encountered these pathogens before. Alongside habitat loss, the introduction of pathogens into naïve wildlife communities is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Likewise, non-infectious diseases are also emerging across the modern world, which include genetic and autoimmune disorders. Such diseases not only affect humans but also impact the health and well-being of zoo animals and ex situ animal populations. Autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disorder and diabetes, are often associated with an altered host microbiome. Muletz Wolz takes a holistic view of host organisms by considering their genes, microbiomes, and their environment with the goal to improve their health.



Muletz Wolz obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Spanish language and literature from Frostburg State University, her Master of Science in Biology from James Madison University and her doctorate in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland.

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