The Kuehn lab studies microbial ecology and evolution using model organisms in the laboratory
A main goal of quantitative biology is to form a predictive theory of evolution. One of the central challenges to constructing such a theory is the complexity of the mapping between genotypes and phenotypes. To understand how the genotype to phenotype map shapes evolutionary dynamics our group is experimentally studying the evolutionary dynamics of motility in the bacterium Escherichia coli. We have developed techniques to experimentally evolve populations of E. coli for faster swimming. We interrogate the evolutionary process using next generation sequencing technology, mathematical modeling and high-throughput single-cell tracking methods. Our group is also studying ecological dynamics working to understand the relationship between genetic diversity and resilience in microbial communities. Even single species microbial communities often consist of tens to hundreds of genetically distinct, coexisting and evolving, subpopulations. Our experiments are directed towards understanding when and how these subpopulations arise and how their presence changes community abundance dynamics. We are studying these questions in single species community of E. coli and a model three species microbial community. To measure community dynamics we develop new instrumentation to automatically measure abundance dynamics while imparting environmental fluctuations on the communities. Our goal is to understand the role of environmental variation and species-species interactions in community level adaptation.
B.S., Beloit College (Physics)
Ph.D., 2007, Cornell University (Chemical Physics)
Postdoc., 2007-2013, Physics and Biology, Rockefeller University