EBS Seminar: Host-pathogen Coevolution in a Model Microbe from the Third Domain
Rachel Whitaker is an Assistant Professor of Microbiology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She received her B.A. degree (Biology, SiSP) from Wesleyan University, and her Ph.D., (Microbiology) from the University of California, Berkeley, where she continued as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Geomicrobiology. Her research interests involve Archaea, bioinformatics, genomics, host-pathogen interactions, microbial ecology, and molecular evolution.
Microbial ecology and evolution: Bacteria and Archaea represent the vast majority of biodiversity on Earth. In fact, the closer we look at microbial populations, the more diversity we see. For example, microbial environmental genomics is uncovering patterns of sequence variation (microdiversity) within species that were once assumed to be homogeneous. Making sense of this diversity will require identifying the ways that dynamic ecological and evolutionary processes interact in the natural microbial world. Because microorganisms are integral parts of all ecosystems on earth, understanding these interactions will have great implications across basic and applied biological systems.