Bruce R. Levin

Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Biology

Emory University


Department of Biology

1510 Clifton Rd

Atlanta, GA. 30322

Phone: 404 - 727 2826

Fax: 404 - 727 2880

e-mail: blevin@emory.edu

Kate Steiger Glass Washer Emeritus
Artist Supermeritus (Click on the picture)

Some recognized prejudices

'Doing research in population biology without mathematical and/or computer simulation models is like playing tennis without a net or boundary lines'. (Stolen with modification from Robert Frost)

'Data may be a crutch for the insecure, but really self-confident scientists subject their hypotheses to tests that can reject them'

'Just because a project may be useful, doesn't mean it's not interesting, high-quality and delicious to work on Science.'

'For us, natural and not-so-natural selection is about dN/dt and not dN/dS.'

All models and model systems are wrong, some are useful. (Borrowed with a "friendly ammendent from George Box)

Our research includes mathematical and computer simulation modeling and in vitro and laboratory animal experiments on the population and evolutionary biology of bacteria and their viruses and accessory genetic elements. In addition to investigations addressing precious academic ecological and evolutionary questions,  we also do studies applying population dynamic and evolutionary theory and experiments to health-related problems. Among the latter are investigations of the epidemiology of pathogenic bacteria, antimicrobial chemotherapy and the evolution of resistance, the pharmacodynamics and pharamacokinetics of antibiotics and the within-host population and evolutionary dynamics of bacterial infections and their treatment with antibiotics.

The following is a list the projects on which we are currently (October 2014) working on or recently completed and the names of the primary investigator(s) involved in these studies.  BRL’s role in many of these endeavors is more that of a producer, advisor, prodder, kibitzer, modeler, programmer, occasional, overpaid technician, editor and general busybody rather than a day-to-day, pipetting, collaborator. For more information about these projects, write to the first named investigator listed or  Bruce.  

  1. A theoretical and experimental study of the population and evolutionary dynanics of bacteria in physically structured habitats. Bruce R. Levin in collaboration with Howie Weiss (Dept. of Mathematics, GA Tech)

  2. Immunological surveillance, senescence and the incidence and distribution of adult onset cancers: a model a review, a perspective and predictions.  Bruce R. Levin, Pierre Ankomah, Ralph V. Evans and Steve Frank (UC Irvine)

  3. The population and evolutionary dynamics of bacteriophage and bacteria with CRISPR-mediated immunity: Mathematical models and real work, population dynamic  and evolutionary experiments and molecular biology with Streptococcus thermophilus and its phage 2972,  Rayshawn Holmes and Bruce R. Levin in collaboration with Rodolphe Barrangou (North Carolina State) and Sylvain Moineau (University of Laval, Quebec) 

  4. The population and evolutionary dynamics of temperate phage and bacteria with CRISR-Cas - Mediated Inmmunity  In collaboration Rayshawn Holms and Luciano Marraffini and his students at the Rockefeller University.  

  5. The population and evolutionary dynamics of temperate phage and bacteria with type II Restriction-Modification systems.  In collaboration with Maros Pleska and Calin Guet at the Austrian Institute of Science and Technology

  6. Population growth and antibiotic pharmacodynamics of bacteria growing in physically structured habitats - Xinxian (Abigail) Shao, Jason Jeong, Justin Kim, Ilya Nemenman, Howie Weiss and Bruce Levin

  7. The pharmaco- and population dynamics of sub-MIC antibiotic treatment of Staphylococcus. aureus - Catherine Friberg, Klas Udekwu, Jeniffer Concepcion-Acevedo, Jessica Coates, Daniel Cox, Hanne Ingmer and Bruce Levin

  8. The pharmaco- and population dynamics of antibiotic treatment of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus as planktonic cells and in biofilms associated with mammalian epithelia.  Jeniffer Concepcion-Acevedo, Jorge Vidal and ingrid McCall.

  9. The population and evolutionary dynamics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its phages.  Waqus Nasir Chaudhry, James J. Bull and Bruce R. Levin 

  10. The combined antibiotic and phage treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginoas infections in biofilms on plastic and epithelial cells. Waquas Nasir Chaudhry, Jeniffer  Concepcion-Acevedo and Bruce R. Levin with sage advice from Joanna Goldberg.

  11. The limitations of MICs:  are we wasting antibiotics that could be effective?   Jeniffer Concepcion-Acevedo, Rayshawn Holms, Fernando Baquero, and Bruce R. Levin.

  12. The population dynamics of macrophage predation on antibiotic susceptible and resistant Staphylococcous aureus, Jeniffer Concepcion-Acevedo and Ingrid McCall. 

  13. Estimating MICs and peristence levels from Kirby Bauer disk diffusion assays.  Veronique Perrot, Jeniffer Concepcion Acevedo, Howie Weiss and James Dickey. 

  14. The pharmcodynamics, pharmacokinetics and population and immune dynamics of bactericidal antibiotics.  In collaboration with Fernando Baquero and Ingrid McCall

Some recent publications from our Lab: For an almost complete list of our articles, click on "Publications"

  • Concepcion-Acevedo, J., H. N. Weiss, W.N. Chadudhry, amd B.R.Levin 2015. Malthusian parameters as estimators of the fitness of microbes.  A cautionary tale about the low side of high throughput.  PLoS One Vol.10: Issue 6: e0126915 [PDF] 

  • Levin, B.R. J. Concepcion Acevedo, K. Udekwu 2014.  Persistence: a copacetic and parsimonous hypothesis for non-inherited resistance to antibiotics.  Current Opinion in Microbiology 21: 18-21 [PDF]
  • Levin, B.R., F. Baquero, P.J. Johnsen 2014. A model-guided analysis and perspective on the evolution and epidemiology of anitbiotic resistance and its future.  Current Opinion in Microbiology 19: 83 - 89 [PDF]
  • Ankomah, P. B.R. Levin 2014.  Exploring the collaboration between antibiotics and the immune response in the treatment of acute, self-limiting infections. PNAS 111:8331-8338  [PDF]  

  • Bull, J.J. C. S.Vegge, M. Schmerer, WN Chaudhry, BR Levin. 2014.  Phenotypic resistance and the dynamics of bacterial escape from phage control.  PLoS One April 2014 | Volume 9 | Issue 4 | e94690 [PDF]

  • Jiang W, Maniv I, Arain F, Wang Y, Levin BR, et al. (2013) Dealing with the Evolutionary Downside of CRISPR Immunity: Bacteria and Beneficial Plasmids. PLoS Genet 9(9): e1003844. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.100384 [PDF]

  • Turrientes, MC Levin, BR, Martínez,JL, Ripoll, A, Baquero, MR Rodríguez-Domínguez,M, González-Alba, JM, Cantón,R,  Baquero, F. and Galán, JC, 2013,  Emergence of Normo-Mutable Variants from a Escherichia coli Mutator Clinical Strain During a Long-Term Serial Passages Experiment PLoS One: Volume 8 | Issue 9 | e72963 [PDF]

  • Ankomah, P, P.T.Johnson and B. R. Levin (2013) The Pharmaco –, Population and Evolutionary Dynamics of Multi-Drug Therapy Experiments with S. aureus and E. coli and Computer Simulations 9(4) e1003300  [PDF]
  • Levin, B.R., S. Moineau, M. Bushman, R. Barrangou (2013) The population and evolutionary dynamics of phage and bacteria with CRISPR-mediated immunity.  PLoS Genetics 9: 3 e1003312 [PDF]

  • Johnson, P.J.T. and B.R. Levin (2013) Pharmacodynamics, population dynamics and the evolution of persistence in Staphyloccus aureus.  PLoS Genetics Vol 9, Issue 1, e1003123 [PDF]

  • Kirby, A.E (2013) Synergistic action of gentamicin and bacteriophage in a continuous culture population of Staphyloccus aureus.  PLoS One Vol. 7, Issue 11, e51057 [PDF]                  

  • Kirby, A.E., K. Garner and B.R. Levin (2012) The relative contributions of physical structure and cell density to the antibiotic susceptibility of bacteria in bioflims.  Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 56(6) 2867-2975 [PDF]

  • Udekwu, K and B.R. Levin (2012)    Staphylococcus aureus in continuous culture: A tool for the rational design of antibiotic treatment PLoS one Vol. 7 Issue 7m  e3866 [PDF]

  • Chien, Y-W, B.R. Levin and K. Klugman (2012) The anticipated severity of a "1918-like" influenza pandemic in contemporary populations:  the contribution of antibacterial interventions [PDF]

  • Ankomah, P and B. R. Levin (2012) Two-drug antimicrobial chemotherapy: A mathematical model and experiments with Mycobacterium marinum.  Plos Pathogens 8: 1 e1002487 [PDF]

  • Wei, Y. A, Kirby and B.R. Levin (2011) The population and evolutionary dynamics of Vibrio cholerae and its bacteriophage: conditions for maintining phage-limited communities Amer, Natur. 178:715-725.[PDF]

  • Wei, Y, Z. Wang, J. Liu, I. Nemenman,   A.H. Singh, H. Weiss and B.R. Levin (2011) The population dynamics of bacteria in physically structured habitats and the adaptive virtue of random motility. PNAS 108:4047-4052 [PDF]

  •  Levin, B.R. (2011) Population geneticists discover bacteria and their genetic/molecular epidemiology.  IN Population Genetics of Bacteria:  A Tribute to Thomas S. Whittam, S.T. Walk and P.C. Fang Editors.  ASM Press  [PDF]

  • Haber, M. B.R. Levin and P. Kramarz (2010) Antibiotic control of antibiotic resistance in hospitals: A simulation study. BMC Infectious Diseases  10:254 [PDF]

  • Levin, B.R. (2010) Nasty viruses, costly plasmids, population dynamics and the conditions for maintaining CRISPR-mediated adaptive immunity in bacteria.  PLoS Genetics 10:6 E1001171 [PDF]

  • Wei, Y, P. Ocampo and B. R. Levin (2010) An Experimental study of the population and evolutionary dynamics of vibrio cholerae O1 and the Bacteriophage JSF4. Proc. Royal Soc. Lond. B On Line [PDF]

  • Levin, B.R. and K. Udekwu (2010) The population dynamics of antibiotic treatment:  a mathematical model and hypotheses for time-Kill and continuous culture experiments. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 54(8): 3414-3426 [PDF]

  • Margolis, E. A. Yates, and B.R. Levin (2010) The ecology of nasal colonization of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Staphylococcus aureus: the role of competition and interactions with host's immune response.  BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:59 doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-59 [PDF]

  • Cornejo OE, McGee, L. and DE Rozen (2010).   Polymorphic competence peptides does not restrict recombination in Streptococcus pneumoniae.  Molecular Biology and Evolution 27(3): 694-702. [PDF] [Supplementary Online Materials]

  • Johnsen, P.J and B.R. Levin (2010) Adjusting to alien genes.  Molecular Microbiology On Line [PDF]

  • Levin, B.R. and O.E. Cornejo (2009) The population and evolutionary dynamics of homologous gene recombination in bacteria. PLoS Genetics 5 (8) e1000601 [PDF]

  • Johnsen, P.J, D. Dubnau, and B. R. Levin (2009) Episodic selection and the maintenance of competence and natural transformation in Bacillus subtilis  GENETICS  181: 1521-1533 [PDF]

  • Udekwu, K,  N. Parrish, P. Ankomah, , F. Baquero and BR Levin (2009) Functional relationship between cell density and the efficacy of antibiotics. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 63:745-767 [PDF]

  • Margolis, E. (2009) Hydrogen peroxide mediated interference competition by Streptococcus pneumoniae has no significant effect on Staphylococcal nasal colonization of neonatal rats J. Bact. 191: 571-575 [PDF]

  • Cornejo, O.E., D. Rozen, R.M. May and B.R. Levin (2009) Oscillations in continuous culture populations ofStreptococcus pneumoniae: Population dynamics and the evolution of clonal suicide  (Proceeding Royal Society B, 276: 999-1008  [PDF] [Supplemental On Line Material]

  • Handel, A, E. Margolis and B.R. Levin (2008) Exploring the role of the immune response in preventing antibiotic resistance Journal of Theoretical Biology 256:666-662 [PDF]

  • Margolis, E. and B. R. Levin (2008) The evolution of bacteria-host interactions: virulence and the immune over-response. IN Introduction to the Evolutionary Biology of Bacterial and Fungal Pathogens ” J-A. Gutteriez and F.M. Baquero Editors (ASM Press)  [PDF] Also published in "Microbial Evoiution and Co-Adaptation: A Tribute to the Life and Scientific Legacies of Joshua Lederberg (2009) P. 137:157 ( http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12586.html)  For the whole Pathogen Evolution Chapter[PDF]

  • Lemonnier , M, B.R. Levin, T. Romeo, K, Garner, M-R. Baquero, J. Mercante, E. Lemichez, F. Baquero, and J. Blázquez (2008) Evolution of contact-dependent inhibition in non-growing populations of E. coli. Proc. Roy. Society B Proc. Royal Soc. B. 275:3-10[PDF] [Supplemental On Line Material]

  • Margolis, E. and B.R. Levin 2007 Within–Host Evolution for the Invasiveness of Commensal Bacteria: an experimental study of bacteremias resulting from Haemophilus influenzae nasal carriage, Journal of Infectious Disease 175: 1069-1075.[PDF]

  • Rozen, D. E. L.E. McGee, B.R. Levin and K. P. Klugman (2007) .The fitness costs of fluoroquinolone resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 51:412-416.[PDF]

  • Meltz-Steinberg, K. and B.R. Levin (2007) Grazing protozoa and the evolution of the Escherichia coli O157:H7 Shigatoxin-encoding prophage. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B Series (Biology) 274: 1921 - 1929.[PDF]

  • Lipsitch, M., T. Cohen, M. Murray, B.R. Levin (2007) Antiviral resistance and the control of pandemic influenza. PLoS Med 41: e15.[PDF]

Current research support (grants):

  • Theoretical and experimental studies of the population and evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic treatment. National Institutes of Health 9R01GM091875-12