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Name: Jeff Gore
Title(s): Assistant Professor of Physics
Phone: (617) 715-4251
Assistant: Monica Wolf (617) 253-4829
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Area of Physics:
- Ph.D. 2005, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY
The Gore biophysics laboratory uses microbial populations to experimentally probe fundamental ideas in theoretical ecology, evolutionary dynamics, and systems biology.
Behavior of populations before collapse – Natural populations in deteriorating environmental conditions can collapse suddenly, and recovery after such a collapse can be exceedingly difficult. Theory predicts that in principle changes in the fluctuations of the population size can be used to anticipate an impending “tipping point” leading to population collapse. In a recent study published in Science, the group used laboratory yeast populations to experimentally measure the theoretically predicted early warning indicators. The laboratory is now exploring how the early warning indicators behave in more complicated ecosystems, such as in spatially extended populations where pattern formation may signal an impending collapse.
Evolution of cooperation – As a Pappalardo Postdoctoral Fellow here at MIT, Jeff used sucrose metabolism in yeast as a model system to study the evolution of cooperation. The conditions required for the initiation and maintenance of cooperative behaviors is a classic problem in evolutionary biology. How can cooperators survive when they can be taken advantage of by "cheaters"? In the case of sucrose metabolism, Jeff found that cooperators can survive even in the presence of cheaters because the cooperators capture a small fraction (~1%) of the sugar they create before it is shared, thus making the interaction what game theorists call a snowdrift game. The laboratory is now exploring how the evolution of cooperation is influence by spatial structure and competition between species.
Rugged fitness landscapes and the reversibility of evolution – The fitness effect of a mutation often depends upon the presence or absence of other mutations in the genome. This genetic epistasis leads to “rugged fitness landscapes” that may constrain the path of evolution. The laboratory has worked to quantify the magnitude of these effects and has also used these ideas to explore the reversibility of evolution in the context of molecular changes in an enzyme. In an intriguing parallel to thermodynamics, the lab has also found that slowly switching between environments increases the reversibility of evolution for small populations.
Jeff joined the MIT Physics Department as an Assistant Professor in January 2010 after spending the previous three years in the Department as a Pappalardo Fellow working with Alexander van Oudenaarden. With the support of a Hertz Graduate Fellowship, he received his PhD in 2005 from the Physics Department at the University of California, Berkeley. His graduate research in single-molecule biophysics was done in the laboratory of Carlos Bustamante, focusing on the study of twist and torque in single molecules of DNA. Jeff is excited to be in the Physics Department here at MIT, particularly since this is where he studied as an undergraduate in the late ‘90s. Since returning to MIT, Jeff has received an NIH Pathways to Independence Award (K99/R00), NIH New Innovator Award, and an NSF CAREER Award. In addition, he has been appointed a Sloan Research Fellow and Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.
- Recipient of 2012 NIH New Innovators Award [1, 2]
- Named 2011 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
- Recipient of 2011 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Mentor Award
- Recipient of 2011 Sloan Research Fellowship
- Recipient of 2011 NSF CAREER Award
- Generic indicators for loss of resilience near a tipping point leading to population collapse, Lei Dai, Daan Vorselen, Kirill Korolev, and Jeff Gore, Science 336, 1175 - 1177 (2012).
- Hidden randomness between fitness landscapes limits reverse evolution, Longzhi Tan, Stephen Serene, Hui Xiao Chao, and Jeff Gore, Phys Rev Lett 106, 198102 (2011).
- Snowdrift game dynamics and facultative cheating in yeast, Jeff Gore, Hyun Youk, and Alexander van Oudenaarden, Nature 459, 253 - 256 (2009).
- The yin and yang of nature [News & Views], Jeff Gore and Alexander van Oudenaarden, Nature 457, 271 - 272 (2009).
- DNA overwinds when stretched, Jeff Gore et al, Nature 442, 836 - 839 (2006)
- Mechanochemical analysis of DNA gyrase using rotor bead tracking, Jeff Gore et al, Nature 439, 100 - 104 (2006).
- Structural transitions and elasticity from torque measurements on DNA, Zev Bryant et al, Nature 424, 338 (2003).
Last updated: 04.01.2013