Vaughn Cooper

  • Adjunct Associate Professor
  • Microbial Genome Dynamics


Office: (412) 624-1265
425 Bridgeside Point 2
450 Technology Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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.

  1. 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?
  2. How do bacteria evolve and form communities within biofilms, especially within infections? What does this teach us about nascent multicellularity?
  3. How and why do ecological tradeoffs evolve?
  4. Why do genome regions replicated at different times evolve at different rates?
  5. Evolution is best taught by hands-on experimentation. How do we deliver this on a massive scale?
Dr. Cooper received his doctoral degree in 200 from Michigan State University and joined the department as an Adjunct faculty member in 2017.