The mission of the Cooper laboratory is to translate evolutionary biology to improve human health, empower K-12 education, and reveal the origins of biodiversity. Specifically, we study the evolution, ecology, and genome dynamics of experimental and clinical microbial populations. The following questions motivate our work.
- How do microbes adaptively evolve when colonizing eukaryotic hosts or exposed to antimicrobial compounds? Can we predict these dynamics and identify driver mechanisms to guide therapy?
- How do bacteria evolve and form communities within biofilms, especially within infections? What does this teach us about nascent multicellularity?
- How and why do ecological tradeoffs evolve?
- Why do genome regions replicated at different times evolve at different rates?
- Evolution is best taught by hands-on experimentation. How do we deliver this on a massive scale?