Behavior of populations before collapse – natural populations can collapse suddenly in deteriorating environmental conditions, and recovery after such a collapse can be exceedingly difficult. Theory predicts that in principle changes in the fluctuations of fibrous histiocytoma skin the population size can be used to anticipate an impending fibrous histiocytoma skin tipping point leading to population collapse. Our group has used laboratory yeast populations to experimentally measure fibrous histiocytoma skin these theoretically predicted early warning indicators based on critical slowing fibrous histiocytoma skin down (dai et al, science (2012)). In addition to changes in the temporal behavior, we have also found that characteristic spatial patterns emerge near fibrous histiocytoma skin a tipping point (dai et al, nature (2013)). These early warning indicators can be observed in producer-freeloader communities as well as in different environmental deteriorations (chen et al, nature communications (2014); dai et al, PNAS (2015)). On an entirely different scale, we have also found that cell memory loses resilience to fibrous histiocytoma skin environmental perturbations approaching such a critical transition (axelrod et al, elife (2015)). More recently, we have collaborated with field ecologists to explore these dynamics fibrous histiocytoma skin in intertidal marine communities and in honey bee colonies, suggesting that critical slowing down provides a powerful framework for fibrous histiocytoma skin studying sudden transitions in a wide range of biological systems.
Evolution of cooperation – the conditions required for the initiation and maintenance of cooperative fibrous histiocytoma skin behaviors is a classic problem in evolutionary biology. How can cooperators survive when they can be taken advantage fibrous histiocytoma skin of by cheaters? As a pappalardo postdoctoral fellow here at MIT, jeff used sucrose metabolism in yeast as a model system fibrous histiocytoma skin to study the evolution of cooperation (gore et al, nature (2009)). The normal cooperative cells secrete the enzyme that breaks down fibrous histiocytoma skin sucrose, whereas cells lacking the gene encoding this enzyme act as fibrous histiocytoma skin cheaters because they do not contribute to breaking down this fibrous histiocytoma skin shared resource. Jeff found that the cooperators can survive even in the fibrous histiocytoma skin presence of cheaters because the cooperators capture a small fraction fibrous histiocytoma skin (~1%) of the sugar they create before it is shared, thus giving the cooperators some preferential access to the fruits fibrous histiocytoma skin of their labor. The laboratory has used this model system to demonstrate that fibrous histiocytoma skin both spatial expansion and competition between species can favor cooperation fibrous histiocytoma skin (datta et al, PNAS (2013); celiker and gore, molecular systems biology (2013))). We have also found that the evolutionary dynamics between cooperator fibrous histiocytoma skin and cheater interact in a feedback loop with changes in fibrous histiocytoma skin the population size to determine how populations respond to environmental fibrous histiocytoma skin deterioration (sanchez and gore, PLOS biology (2013)). More recently, the laboratory has explored the evolutionary consequences of the cooperative fibrous histiocytoma skin inactivation of antibiotics by bacteria (yurtsev et al, molecular systems biology (2013); artemova et al, molecular systems biology (2015)).
Multi-species community assembly – A major part of the group is now focusing on fibrous histiocytoma skin the rules governing multi-species community assembly. For example, we are asking whether the outcome of pairwise competition between fibrous histiocytoma skin species allows us to predict the outcome when three or fibrous histiocytoma skin more species are in competition. We are also performing experiments to explore the role of fibrous histiocytoma skin stochastic colonization in determining the microbial community in the gut fibrous histiocytoma skin of the worm C. Elegans.
In all of these experiments we aim to perform theoretically-motivated experiments followed by experimentally-motivated theory and modeling. This is a research paradigm that has been fabulously successful fibrous histiocytoma skin in the areas traditionally considered to be physics, and we believe that this physics approach can provide powerful fibrous histiocytoma skin insight into living systems. Biographical sketch
Jeff joined the MIT physics department as an assistant professor fibrous histiocytoma skin in january 2010 after spending the previous three years in fibrous histiocytoma skin the department as a pappalardo fellow working with alexander van fibrous histiocytoma skin oudenaarden. With the support of a hertz graduate fellowship, in 2005 he received his phd from the physics department fibrous histiocytoma skin at the university of california, berkeley. His graduate research in single-molecule biophysics was done in the laboratory of carlos bustamante, focusing on the study of twist and torque in single fibrous histiocytoma skin molecules of DNA. Jeff is excited to be in the physics department here fibrous histiocytoma skin at MIT, particularly since this is where he studied as an undergraduate fibrous histiocytoma skin in the late ‘90s. Awards and honors
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