BIOL 0380 -- Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (Fall term each year). Infectious diseases remain among the leading causes of death worldwide, and this burden is disproportionately borne by children living in low- and middle-income countries. Thus, the management of infectious disease remains a critical intellectual challenge in the 21st century. This course will develop and apply ecological and evolutionary theory to infectious microbes and their hosts, via the detailed examination of a number of case studies. This will be accomplished by a combination of lectures, discussions, and readings drawn mainly from the primary literature. Prerequisite: Biol 0200 or equivalent, or permission of instructor.
BIOL 0380 -- 2020 Hybrid course plan: This fall, Biol 0380 will be offered as a hybrid course. Each week, students will asynchronously watch a number of short video lectures in place of traditional, in-person lectures. In addition, students will synchronously attend small (<20 student) discussion sections. In person and remote participation will be supported. Diverse assessments including low-stakes check-in quizzes, module problem sets, individual and group projects, and exams are planned. Click here for further details.
BIOL 1430 -- Population Genetics (Fall term in odd-numbered years). Population genetics considers the genetic basis of evolution: temporal changes in the genetic composition of populations in response to processes such as mutation, natural selection and random sampling effects. Starting from first principles, this course will develop a theoretical understanding of these dynamics. We will also explore the application of these tools to genomic-scale data in order to quantify the influence of various evolutionary processes at work in natural populations. Assessments will be based on extensive problem sets and a take-home final exam. Prerequisites: MATH 0100 and one of BIOL 0470 or 0480, or permission.
BIOL 1950/1960/2980 -- Directed Research/Independent Study/Graduate Independent Study. I am actively seeking highly motivated undergraduate and fifth-year masters students with interests in theoretical or experimental evolutionary genetics. Click on the RESEARCH tab at left to learn more about ongoing work in the lab.
BIOL 0370 -- Experimental Evolution: Seeing Darwin in Real Time (Fall 2014 only) It is generally difficult to rigorously study evolution by natural selection because it acts across thousands of generations and in varying environments. Studying laboratory populations of short-lived organisms overcomes both challenges. This course will survey the field of experimental evolution, develop and apply ecological and evolutionary theory, and interpret and synthesize the peer-reviewed literature. Students will evolve bacteria to increased environmental stress resistance in complementary labs. Evaluation will be based on participation, student-led discussion, weekly written assignments, a midterm and final. Expected: BIOL 0200 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 25 first year students and sophomores. Instructor permission required. LILE.
BIOL 2440 S06 -- Grad Seminar Beyond Classical Population Genetics. (Spring 2013 only) My own training in theoretical microevolution has been dominated by the classical population genetics textbooks of Crow and Kimura, Hartl and Clark, and the like. This seminar course will explore other traditions. Students will be expected to regularly lead discussions and to be active, prepared members of the classroom. Motivated students from all backgrounds and of all levels from advanced undergraduate to faculty are welcome to participate.
BIOL 2440 S03 -- The evolution of evolvability (Spring 2020 only).
Natural selection causes populations of organisms to adapt to their environment on the timescale of generations. Evolvability is the capacity of a population for such adaptive change, as for example quantified by the rate of fitness increase per generation. This course will seek to understand the features of organisms that affect their evolvability, and to develop a rigorous understanding of the circumstances under which evolvability can itself evolve. This seminar course will meet weekly, and participants will take turns leading critical discussions on a pertinent component of the relevant theoretical and experimental literature. Overarching questions for the semester will include:
- Can one articulate an exhaustive list of features that influence evolvability from first principles?
- What are the roles of direct and indirect selection in the evolution of evolvability?
- What are the connections between the evolution of evolvability and modifier theory?
- What is the role of population structure in the evolution of evolvability?
- What is the role of variable environments in the evolution of evolvability?
- What are the connections between the evolution of evolvability and frequency-dependent selection?
- What are the connections between the evolution of evolvability and Simpson’s paradox?
- What are the connections between the evolution of evolvability and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis?
- What are the opportunities for developing a synthetic theory of the evolution of evolvability?