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ID Epi Seminar Series: Why biofilm growth can generate fundamentally different dynamics and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance, Vaughn Cooper, PhD
February 15 @ 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm
Vaughn Cooper, PhD, Associate Professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics | Computational and Systems Biology; Director, Evolutionary Genomics Research Facility; Associate Director, Center for Medicine and the Microbiome; Associate Director, Center for Innovative Antimicrobial Therapy, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Talk title: Why biofilm growth can generate fundamentally different dynamics and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance
Biography: I am an evolutionary geneticist and microbiologist whose lab applies genomic technology to understand ecological and evolutionary dynamics in microbial populations. We have pioneered methods for studying long-term evolution in biofilm populations and for measuring genome-wide mutation rates. Our focus is pathogen evolution that occurs during chronic infections, but we also study eco-evolutionary dynamics in biofilms, the ecological context of antimicrobial resistance, why genome regions mutate/evolve at different rates, and how the microbiome itself evolves with various conditions. As a teacher, I advocate for the study of evolution-in-action using hands-on experiments, which we’ve developed into a simple yet powerful curriculum for 9th-10th graders. This curriculum, called EvolvingSTEM, produces significant increases in learning of evolution and heredity, and also increases motivation towards pursuing STEM-related careers.