Esther Lee,

Emory University, Class of December 2019


I am doing my Emory Honors Thesis research on theoretical and experimental studies of population and evolutionary dynamics of bacteria and bacteriophage.

I am currently working on two projects.  One, which I am doing in collaboration with Emory faculty colleagues, Nicole Vega, Marcin Grabowitz, a high school student, Zoe Weiss, and Bruce Levin, is a study of the population and evolutionary dynamics and the conditions for the maintenance of lytic bacteriophage on mucoid populations of Escherichia coli K12 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, PA14.     One goal of the Pseudomonas elements of this study, on which we are also collaborating with Nicole Vega and Joanna Goldberg, her Postdoc Ashley Cross, as well as Edze Westra from Essex University, GB, is to elucidate the conditions under which lytic phage will select for and maintain CRISPR-Cas immunity in populations of bacteria capable of generating resistant mutants.  My second project is with E. coli K12 the phage l and its virulent mutants.  One goal of this study, which I am doing in collaboration with Waqas Chaudhry, Nicole Vega, an Emory Undergraduate, Adithi Govindan, a visiting graduate student from Chile Rodigo Gonzalez, and Bruce Levin is to elucidate the conditions under which selection will maintain a temperate mode of phage replication, lysogeny, rather than a purely virulent mode.  Another goal is to determine the conditions under which selection will favor the carriage of host-expressed genes on the prophage of temperate viruses rather than the chromosomes of bacteria.  

For more information about my research, write to me at esther.lee3@emory.edu