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Jeffrey E Barrick

Associate Professor
Molecular Biosciences

Lorene Morrow Kelley Professorship in Microbiology

Microbial experimental evolution and synthetic biology


Phone: 512-471-3247

Office Location
MBB 1.436

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

B.S., California Institute of Technology (2001)
Ph.D., Yale University (2006)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Michigan State University (2006-2010)


We use experiments with microorganisms, nucleic acids, and digital organisms to study evolution in action with the ultimate goal of understanding and harnessing evolution as a creative force. To ask how different types of mutations impact evolutionary potential, we are using deep sequencing to monitor the competitive dynamics of spontaneous beneficial mutations in these populations and also engineering specific genomic changes. Systems biology and biochemistry approaches are used to link the effects of mutations on cell physiology to how they affect competitive fitness at the organism level, and bioinformatics and comparative genomics are used to investigate whether similar mutational pathways are important in nature.

View all publications on Google Scholar

Representative Publications 

Barrick, J.E., Lenski, R.L. (2013) Genome dynamics during experimental evolution. Nat. Rev. Genet. 14:827-834.

Quandt, E.M., Hammerling, M.J., Summers, R.J., Otoupal, P.B., Slater, B., Alnahhas, R.N., Dasgupta, A.,Bachman, J.L., Subramanian, M.V., Barrick, J.E. (2013) Decaffeination and measurement of caffeine content by addicted Escherichia coli with a refactored N-demethylation operon from Pseudomonas putida CBB5. ACS Synth. Biol. 2:301-307.

Blount, Z.D., Barrick, J.E., Davidson, C.J., Lenski, R.E. (2012) Genomic analysis of a key innovation in an experimental E. coli population. Nature 489:513-518.

Reba, A., Meyer, A.G., Barrick, J.E. (2012) Computational tests of a thermal cycling strategy to isolate more complex functional nucleic acid motifs from random sequence pools by in vitro selection. In: C. Adami et al. (eds.).Artificial Life XIII: Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems. pp 473-480. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Woods, R.J.*, Barrick, J.E.*, Cooper, T.F., Shrestha, U., Kauth, M.R., Lenski, R.E. (2011) Second-order selection for evolvability in a large Escherichia coli population. Science 331:1433-1436. *equal contributions

Barrick, J.E.*, Yu, D.S.*, Yoon, S.H., Jeong, H., Oh, T.K., Schneider, D., Lenski, R.E., and Kim, J.F. (2009) Genome evolution and adaptation in a long-term experiment with E. coli. Nature 461:1243-1247. *equal contributions

  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award
  • NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biological Informatics
  • RNA Society/Scaringe Young Scientist Award
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship

BCH 339F: Foundations of Biochemistry

CH 391L: Synthetic Biology

NSC 110: Biotechnology and Society