Studies of how organisms evolve in the lab have identified several key features of the evolutionary processes such as the dynamics of clonal interference and epistatic interactions between adaptive mutations. While the role of individual mutations on organismal fitness have been characterized, how these mutations affect protein and DNA synthesis leading to faster growth remains a critical gap in our understanding of evolutionary dynamics. A major goal of our research program is to provide a mechanistic understanding of phenotypic changes that occur at the transcriptional and translational level during adaptive evolution.
We use -omics approaches such as, RNA-seq and RIBO-seq to study changes in transcriptional and translation regulation at the whole genome level. We take advantage of model systems such as the long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) in E. coli to understand changes in gene regulation over long periods of time and determine their impact on fitness.