CMCI Director, Distinguished Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
As Director, Professor Wichman provides overall leadership to CMCI and is responsible for scientific direction, administration, mentoring, and assessment. Wichman has a long history of interdisciplinary collaboration. Recent research has focused on testing and refining models of adaptive evolution using viral models systems. Her group has also carried out comparative studies of transposable elements in mammals.
CMCI Program Manager
As Program Manager, Michele oversees the day-to-day CMCI administrative operations. She provides project and fiscal management, grant support and development, and personnel management. Michele has 14 years of University of Idaho administrative experience.
CMCI Communications/Events Coordinator
Lydia is responsible for CMCI’s website, Collaboratorium schedule, coordinating events and meetings, and general communication within the UI community.
Collaboratorium Administrative Team
Collaboratorium Program Coordinator, Research Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
As the Collaboratorium Program Coordinator, Dr. Brown is the initial point of contact for individuals who wish to use Collaboratorium resources, and she will coordinate workshops on modeling hosted by CMCI. Dr. Brown’s expertise is in molecular evolution and bioinformatics, and she has a long history of interdisciplinary collaboration with mathematicians, statisticians, biophysicists and other evolutionary biologists. She has worked extensively on the evolution of intrinsically disordered proteins.
Deputy Director of the Collaboratorium, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Mathematics
As Deputy Director of the Collaboratorium, Dr. Miller will be housed in the Collaboratorium and will oversee its day-to-day activities. Dr. Miller is a jack of many trades. His background is in wildlife conservation and population genetics. He has more recently worked on developing and testing models of adaptive evolution, on how mutations interact (epistasis), and on how changes in folding and binding stability constrain the evolution of proteins.
Collaboratorium Director, Associate Professor, Department of Statistical Science
Dr. Wiest is responsible for ongoing evaluation and strategic growth of the Collaboratorium and works closely with Deputy Director Craig Miller to develop a climate and culture of collaboration, productivity, and positive outreach. Through her many years of collaboration with researchers across campus and disciplines, Wiest knows the keys to successful interdisciplinary research. Her research includes methodological development for addressing missing and messy data collected in epidemiological settings.
Internal Advisory Committee
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Fortunato works on host-pathogen interactions of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). HCMV is a leading cause of birth defects of the central nervous system. Dr. Fortunato’s lab aims to decipher the mechanism behind the induction of these defects by focusing on the interactions of the virus with both the cellular DNA and the cell’s machinery to repair DNA damage in clinically relevant cells of neural lineage.
Professor, Department of Mathematics
Dr. Krone is trained as a mathematician and has been working at the interface of mathematics and biology for over 20 years, including research on theoretical population genetics (especially coalescent theory), the ecology and evolution of bacteria and viruses, the spread of antibiotic resistance genes on plasmids, and epidemiology. A central goal in his work is to uncover the effects of various types of structure that influence interactions between individuals during evolutionary, ecological, and epidemiological dynamics. He uses both stochastic models and differential equations in this work, often tethering the theory to empirical data generated by his biological colleagues. Krone’s Website.
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Marx moved his lab to Idaho at the start of 2014, with the interactive environment being a significant draw. His broad research goal has been to understand the physiological basis of evolutionary or ecological phenomena, with the methanol-consuming Methylobacterium as our major model system, and experimental evolution as a key approach. These data are integrated with systems-level, mathematical models of physiology to generate quantitative predictions linking genotype to phenotype for both individual strains and synthetic microbial communities. Marx’s Lab Website.
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Top’s research is focused on the ecology and evolution of multi-drug resistance (MDR) plasmids in bacteria. Since the rapid spread of MDR to human pathogens threatens our fight against infectious diseases, novel therapies are needed that limit the spread of new resistance genes. However, the factors that determine successful transfer and persistence of MDR plasmids are still poorly understood. Her main research questions focus on the evolutionary mechanisms and dynamics of plasmid host range evolution, the diversity and evolutionary history of natural MDR plasmids, and the abundance and spread of MDR plasmids in the environment.
External Advisory Committee
Fred Adler has attempted to apply mathematical methods to all areas of biology beginning with vowels, ranging from ants, animal behavior, ecology, evolution, epidemiology, immunology, inflammation, oncology and urban ecology. His central approach involves working closely with biologists to find ways to capture the essential structures of complex systems, and to combine mathematical and statistical analysis to make that work accessible and useful.
Retired, former Program Officer as NIGMS
Irene Eckstrand is enjoying retirement after nearly 35 years managing NIH research programs in evolutionary biology, infectious disease modeling, and genetics. Retirement did not mean slowing down. These days, Irene volunteers as a Master Gardener with the University of Maryland Extension Service, sings alto in a local choir, works on the family genealogy, and gives occasional talks on genetic complexity and the philosophy of science.
Professor, Department of Biology
Karen Guillemin received her A.B. from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and her PhD. from Stanford School of Medicine, studying organ development in fruit flies. She stayed at Stanford School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow in microbiology studying bacterial pathogenesis. She joined the University of Oregon faculty as a member of the Department of Biology and the Institute of Molecular Biology, where she combined her interest in developmental biology and host-microbe interactions to study how animals coexist with their resident microbial communities in both health and disease, using model animals including the zebrafish. She is the founding director of the META Center for Systems Biology, devoted to understanding how host-microbe systems work and to using this knowledge to advance human health.
Harmit Malik studied at Indian Institute of Technology where he received a degree in Chemical Engineering. He then joined the Ph.D. program in Biology at the University of Rochester, studying the evolutionary origins of retrotransposable elements.
Harmit is interested in a variety of problems that could all be classified under the genetics of evolutionary conflict. He studies rapidly evolving proteins as a hallmark of this kind of conflict, hoping to better understand the molecular nature of the conflict, as well as uncover previously unrecognized sources of conflict. Harmit’s Lab Website