Christianna Smith Lecture - Paul Turner, Ph.D.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Paul Turner, Interim Dean of Science and Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University.

Dr. Turner, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is interested in examining how viruses evolutionarily adapt to overcome new challenges, such as emergence on novel host species, transmission via new arthropod vectors, survival at elevated temperatures, or changes in host immunity.

Because microorganisms allow experiments on the order of hundreds (or even thousands) of generations, microbes provide a uniquely powerful system to study evolution in action. Turner’s laboratory uses microorganisms (RNA viruses, DNA viruses, bacteria) as model systems to address hypotheses in ecological and evolutionary theory, especially questions regarding the evolution of genetic exchange (sex), virus ecology and evolution, host-parasite interactions, and the evolution of infectious disease. He also examines how microbes can be used to solve human problems, such as the application of viruses as treatments against bacterial infections or targeted destruction of cancerous tumors. Turner’s group uses an interdisciplinary approach to investigate these processes, employing techniques from microbiology, population genetics, genomics, molecular biology, and mathematical modeling.