Jeffrey E. Barrick

  • Associate Professor
  • Molecular Biosciences
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Contact Information


Controlling evolution is key to combating the emergence of drug resistance, preventing the progression of chronic infections and cancers, and maintaining the function of genetically engineered cells. Evolution can also be harnessed for biotechnology and medicine: used to create novel therapeutics and to optimize microbial bioprocessing, for example. My laboratory is interested in developing methods to anticipate and arrest unwanted evolution and in understanding how expanded genetic codes and other engineered genome-wide changes can be used to study and augment the evolutionary potential of microbes. Recently, we have also begun to use synthetic biology tools to engineer bacterial endosymbionts of insects for various applications, including engineering honey bee gut symbionts to protect pollinator health, engineering aphid symbionts to protect crops and engineering leafhopper symbionts to control biomaterial production.

Research Areas

  • Evolution
  • Infectious Disease, Immunology and Microbiology

Fields of Interest

  • Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Disease
  • System and Synthetic Biology

Centers and Institutes

  • Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology
  • Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Graduate Programs


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



  • Defense Science Study Group (2018-2019)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2016)
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award (2009)
  • NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biological Informatics (2006)
  • RNA Society/Scaringe Young Scientist Award (2006)
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship (2001)
  • Caltech George W. Green Memorial Prize (2000)