NEW (Feb 2013): This site is no longer being publicly maintained. Please visit our new site [http://micropopbio.org/cooperlab]. Thanks!
We study the causes and consequences of bacterial adaptation to new environments
We in the Cooper lab are motivated by a range of questions at the interface of ecology, evolution, and genetics, including:
1) What are the causes and consequences of biofilm diversity?
2) How do beneficial mutations both depend upon and influence their genetic and ecological context?
3) How and why do symbionts evolve into mutualists or pathogens?
4) How do abiotic factors and the resident microbiome influence pathogens in shellfish?
Approach: We use experimental evolution combined with genome and metagenome resequencing to identify the molecular bases of adaptation. We then use classical microbiology, molecular genetics and biochemistry to understand how each mutation contributes to fitness. This approach – conducted in experimental biofilms, novel hosts, or simple nutrient environments – is powerful and fundamentally a process of discovery that encourages participation by students with diverse abilities and training. We also are studying environmental isolates of Vibrio from our local estuary to understand their role in shellfish.
More detail of selected projects is provided below. Links to our publications are here: [http://bit.ly/VPUvQy] and below.
Bacterial-nematode interactions: from mutualism to pathogenesis