We are interested in the tempo and mode of evolution in bacteria. Many traits of interest, scientifically and practically, involve a large number of genes and complex interactions with other organisms and the environment. We integrate comparative and functional genomics over different evolutionary time-scales to better understand how and why these complex traits vary within and between bacterial populations and species.
We focus primarily on enterobacteria, a group that includes Escherichia coli K-12, a model strain of bacteria that has been studied by laboratories around the world since its original isolation in 1922. This allows us to leverage the E. coli K-12 knowledgebase to understand related bacteria, but also allows us to examine the limits of generality of knowledge from this model system. Along the way, this scientific journey has led us to develop new computational tools and resources. Wherever possible, we try to leverage the investment to create tools that are useful to a broader research community.
The following vignettes describe some of the biological questions that motivate our research and some of the resources we have built. That said, our scientific interests range beyond what is described here, and we welcome all opportunities to discuss these, and other past, present and future research endeavors!