Joan E. Strassmann, Ph.D.

Joan E. Strassmann, Ph.D.

Perhaps no community is more diverse than the soil microbiome with its predators, parasites, scavengers, cooperators, and symbionts, for ultimately all primary productivity ends up on the ground or in the water.

Charles Rebstock Professor
Biology

Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program
Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program

  • social evolution; multicellularity; mutualism; symbiosis; experimental evolution; disease; social amoebae; Dictyostelium; science education; birds

  • Perhaps no community is more diverse than the soil microbiome with its predators, parasites, scavengers, cooperators, and symbionts, for ultimately all primary productivity ends up on the ground or in the water. We are interested in social evolution and mutualism. Our team uses a social amoeba as a window on this world. It has a solitary and a social stage, with cooperation, conflict, and cheating. It is also has symbiotic relationships with bacteria which influence its role in the community. It even has its own tiny microbiome. Because this system is microbial, it is amenable to field and laboratory experimentation, genomics, experimental evolution, and understanding at the level of the gene. We have a diverse and dynamic team of undergraduates who also are involved in scientific outreach. We also see to it that they get the big picture with a class dedicated to research methods.