We are interested in the interplay between phenotypic plasticity and phenotypic noise, and how these two traits have evolved in natural isolates of E. coli. To gain insight into this problem, we employ methods that allow us to observe single cells and their response to changes in environmental signals (see image analysis below).
In order to get quantitative measures of changes in cellular physiology and transcription, we use image analysis. This is through a collaboration with Florian Jug, who is now at MPI Dresden.
We are interested in the evolution of novel transcriptional control (e.g. changes in start sites, mRNA levels, or new small RNAs). We use RNA-seq of natural isolates of E. coli to quantify these changes. We also use these data in conjunction with information on protein levels to understand how selection differentially acts on mRNA and protein levels.
We use proteomics to quantify changes in protein levels during evolution. We are interested in determining which traits are under stabilising or diversifying selection, and what the molecular mechanisms are that are responsible for changes in these traits.
We use experimental evolution to in conjunction with information from natural isolates of E. coli to gain evolutionary insights in all of our research.