Vaughn S. Cooper, PhD
- Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
- Director, Center for Evolutionary Biology and Medicine
- Associate Director, Center for Medicine and the Microbiome
- Associate Director, Center for Innovative Antimicrobial Therapy
- Member, Graduate Program in Microbiology and Immunology (PMI)
Education & Training
- PhD in Zoology/Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Michigan State University, 2000
- AB magna cum laude, Biology, Amherst College, 1994
The mission of the Cooper laboratory is to translate evolutionary biology to improve human health, empower K-12 education, and reveal the origins of biodiversity. Specifically, we study the evolution, ecology, and genome dynamics of experimental and clinical microbial populations. The following questions motivate our work.
- How do microbes adaptively evolve when colonizing eukaryotic hosts or exposed to antimicrobial compounds? Can we predict these dynamics and identify driver mechanisms to guide therapy?
- How do bacteria evolve and form communities within biofilms, especially within infections?
- How does host immunity influence the evolution of antibiotic resistance?
- How does resistance to immunotherapy evolve?
- Why do genome regions replicated at different times evolve at different rates?
- Evolution is best taught by hands-on experimentation. How do we deliver this on a massive scale?
Santos-Lopez A, Marshall CW, Scribner MR, Snyder D, Cooper VS. 2019. Evolutionary pathways to antibiotic resistance are dependent upon environmental structure and bacterial lifestyle. eLife 8: e47612 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.47612.
Cooper VS, Warren TM, Matela AM, Handwork M, Scarponi S. 2019. EvolvingSTEM: a microbial evolution-in-action curriculum that enhances learning of evolutionary biology and biotechnology. Evolution: Education and Outreach 12: 12.
Dillon MM, Sung W, Lynch M, Cooper VS. 2018. Periodic Variation of Mutation Rates in Bacterial Genomes Associated with Replication Timing. mBio 9: e01371-18.
Silva, IN, Santos PM, Santos MR, Zlosnik JEA, Speert DP, Buskirk SW, Bruger EL, Waters CM, Cooper VS and Moreira LM. 2016. Long-Term Evolution of Burkholderia multivorans During a Chronic Cystic Fibrosis Infection Reveals Shifting Forces of Selection. mSystems. 1: pii: e00029-16.
Traverse CC, Mayo-Smith LM, Poltak SR and Cooper VS. 2013. Tangled bank of experimentally evolved Burkholderia biofilms reflects selection during chronic infections. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 110: E250-E259.