Yeasts evolving in unpredictable environments





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Project Description

Natural selection results in the adaptation of organisms to their environment, but what happens if the environment doesn’t stay put? Right now, the earth is experiencing a period of rapid, human caused environmental change. This is changing the environment in certain directions (i.e. hotter), but also changing the variability (more droughts *and* more hurricanes). A focus of research in the Proulx lab is adaptation to fluctuating and changing environments, and we use the microbe yeast (where you get your beer and bread) to study this. We experimentally evolve yeast in the lab and then study how their behavior, physiology, and genomes change. 

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates will be involved in all aspects of the lab process. This includes transferring yeast to new media, making reagents, extracting DNA, analyzing microscopic images, and measuring yeast phenotypes. Students will be encouraged to develop their own experiments that can run in parallel with the ongoing lab projects. 

Requirements and/or Application Instructions

Students should be interested in the natural world, in the process of natural selection and adaptation, and in microbial biology. While previous experience with sterile technique, pipetting, and cell culture is a plus, it is not required. Interest and ability in troubleshooting experiments and in understanding techniques as you learn them is more important.