- Co-evolutionary dynamics of bacteria-phage competition: Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that prey on bacteria. Their interaction allows for large phenotypic variability both among phages and bacteria and is thought to be important for understanding bacterial diversity in a variety of natural ecosystems, such as animal gut. Our goal is to develop a phenomenological model through laboratory experiments to understand the role of population genetic parameters – population size, mutation rate, and strength of selection – on bacterial diversity. We are particularly interested in adaptive immunity through CRISPR system and its antidote anti-CRSPR.
- Mitochondrial aging in yeast: This work addresses the biologically important problem of mitochondrial maintenance over the lifetime of a cell, where the necessity to prevent loss of function in the face of high mitochondrial mutation rate brings evolutionary dynamics into the realm of physiology of aging.
- Blood regeneration in animals: A significant knowledge about the molecular mechanism involved in production of functioning blood and immune cells from a hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) has been gleaned from recent cell-level experiments. However, how a population of such HSCs organize together to maintain stable blood generation at the whole-animal level is a central question in animal physiology with implications for blood related diseases including blood cancers. In this work, we are developing an animal-level mathematical model for blood regeneration consistent with our quantitative analysis of long-term (4-12 years) clonal repopulation in rhesus macaques that may provide a framework with which to quantitatively study perturbations and genetic modifications of the hematopoietic HSC system.