Viral dynamics: from genes to populations

Bacteriophage are the most abundant organisms on the planet. They modify population dynamics of hosts, alter biogeochemical cycles, catalyze microbial diversity, and influence the spread of infectious disease. Originally discovered in 1919 by Felix d'Herelle and used by Luria, Delbruck and others as a means to understand the fundamental mechanisms of molecular biology, we have since entered a third age of phage.

Given the extensive molecular and metagenomic characterizations of phages, we have embarked on an effort to understand phage dynamics and evolution at multiple scales. We are interested in the gene regulation of phages, complex ecological interactions, the genomic and functional trait diversity of phages in real populations, and their applicability as antibiotic alternatives.

We use a combination of analytical, computational, and experimental techniques to study the "evolutionary ecology of bacterial viruses."

Some of the projects we currently work on are:

  • Quorum sensing in viruses
  • Multi-scale viral dynamics: from regulation to evolution
  • Quantifying the hydrolytic activity of phage lytic enzymes