Understanding Evolution

Research Profiles :

Battling bacterial evolution: The work of Carl Bergstrom
by the Understanding Evolution team

Carl Bergstrom
Dr. Bergstrom
Dr. Carl Bergstrom manages evolution. From his laboratory at the University of Washington, Carl figures out how to control the evolutionary future of microbe populations, nudging them towards particular destinies and away from others. His laboratory does not look like a traditional biology lab; rather than test tubes or microscopes or petri dishes, the rooms are full of computers, whiteboards, books, and coffee machines. But then again, Carl is not trying to evolve smarter dogs or to resurrect T. rex. Instead, he has his eye on a far more practical goal: to control how bacteria in hospitals evolve resistance to our drugs. His tools in this endeavor are computers, mathematics, and evolutionary theory, and the testing grounds for his ideas are hospital intensive care units.

In this research profile we will explore these key questions:
  • How does natural selection work?

  • How can we observe and experiment on evolution?

  • How does an evolutionary biologist test a hypothesis?

  • What are some practical applications for evolutionary knowledge?

  • What is modeling?


View this article online at:

Understanding Evolution © 2018 by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and the Regents of the University of California