John McCrea and Marion Ball Dickson Chair & Professor
Phone(717) 337 - 6153
BS Mc Gill University, Montreal, 1978
MS Mc Gill University, Montreal, 1982
PhD University of Arizona, 1987
Evolutionary Ecology, Bacteriophage ecology/evolution, Plant Mating Systems,
I’m an evolutionary biologist and teach courses reflecting both my interests and training.
Teaching: Bio 111 - Introduction to Ecology and Evolution; Bio 204 - Biology of Flowering Plants; Bio 314 - Evolution; Bio 315 - Genome and Molecular Evolution; Bio 361 Evolutionary Medicine
My research is in the field of evolutionary ecology.
Recently (2012), in collaboration with Dr. Greg Krukonis, I have started a project exploring the ecology and evolution of phages - viruses that infect bacteria - and their bacterial hosts. We are interested in
- what factors determine a phage’s host range (their ability to infect a few versus many bacterial strains, to be specialists versus generalists);
- how phages evolve as they exchange genetic material with other phages and/or as they encounter different bacterial strains to infect;
- the relative importance of mutation versus recombination (horizontal gene transfer) in the process of adaptation in phages; and
- the spatial and temporal scales at which these interactions take place (g., how does the diversity of phages and hosts change along these two dimensions).
Although my research has an evolutionary ecological focus, students learn basic microbiological and molecular techniques and work with a number of bioinformatics tools, all of which can apply to research/work in a diversity of fields in biology.
Areas of interests: Coevolution of phage and bacterial hosts - Genome organization in bacteriophage - Ecology and evolution of sexual/mating systems in plants
Article Testing hypotheses for the presence of tRNA genes in mycobacteriophage genomes. Bacteriophage, 6:3, e1219441