By understanding the cellular and population-genetic barriers and facilitators of evolutionary change, we aim to understand the mechanisms of organismal evolution and to reveal the “general rules of life” that transcend species boundaries.

Although much of our research relies on the use of model organisms in cell biology and genetics, we hope to use our results to help understand ways that expand the evolutionary potential of beneficial species and curtail evolutionary adaptation in harmful species. This knowledge will be applied to pressing issues, including:

  • Evolutionary changes of disease-causing organisms, including the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
  • The establishment of harmful populations such as blue-green algal blooms.
  • The effects of mutagens and cellular errors on the long-term well-being of populations of species, including our own.
  • The evolutionary consequences of global environmental change.
  • The development of new strategies for biomass production.

Using approaches ranging from whole-genome sequencing, to proteomics and analysis of protein structure, to mathematical theory and computational analysis, to experimental evolution, the CME is exploring a wide range of issues

Some of our specialties include:

  • Microbial evolution experiments.
  • Development of predictive mathematical theory for evolution.
  • Understanding long-term evolutionary processes from population-level genome sequencing projects.
  • Quantifying the rates at which errors accumulate within cells, as well as their causes and consequences.
  • Gaining insights into the origins of new organelles.
  • Exploiting knowledge on the interface between biophysics, bioenergetics, structural biology, and evolution.

Faculty members

Open access to ‘The Origins of Cellular Architecture’

We have taken on one of the last uncharted fields in evolution: integrating evolutionary biology with cell biology. This sequel to The Origins of Genome Architecture brings evolutionary theory to bear on a diversity of observations on the functional and structural features of cells.

Please feel free to send comments, corrections and suggestions to [email protected]

Support the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution

Uncovering the mechanisms of evolution at the gene, genomic, cellular and phenotypic levels, with attention to the roles of mutation, random genetic drift and recombination.