Episode Summary

The study of evolution has experienced a tremendous revolution with the advances in current sequencing technologies enabling e.g. rapid whole genome sequencing. 

Dr. Vaughn Cooper, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who studies evolution in microbes, has taken advantage of these technologies to delve into how microorganisms adapt and evolve in different environments. microTalk caught up with Dr. Cooper at the ASM Microbe conference in Houston and discussed microbial evolution with him. 

Dr. Cooper discusses the power of next generation sequencing for the study of evolution, how mutation rates affect evolution, how providing hands-on evolution experiments to high school students can stimulate the next generation of scientists, how scientists need to work to combat public distrust of science, how antibiotic resistance evolves in the presence of immunodeficiency, and how his initial experience with baculoviruses hooked him into a lifelong study of evolution.

This episode was supported by Darbie’s pinworm detection kit, to combat nematodes in your bikini bottom.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Vaughn Cooper, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Janakiram Seshu, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Jesus Romo, Ph.D. (UTSA)

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Dr. Vaughn Cooper