Jeff Gore, Associate Professor
Department of Physics
Seminar Series: 2015d Fall, Mohammed Dahleh Distinguished Lecture
Date, Time, and Location: 11/30/2015 - 3:30pm - 4:30pm, ESB 1001
Title: Cooperation, Cheating and Collapse in Biological Populations

Natural populations can suffer catastrophic collapse in response to
small changes in the environment, and recovery after such a collapse
can be difficult. We have used laboratory microcosms to explore
theoretically proposed early warning signals of impending population
collapse. Our experimental yeast populations cooperatively break
down the sugar sucrose, meaning that below a critical size, the
population cannot sustain itself. The cooperative nature of yeast
growth on sucrose makes the population susceptible to the spread of
"cheater" cells, which do not contribute to the public good and
reduce the resilience of the population.

Speaker Biography:
Is Associate Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has wide- ranging research interesting from ecological dynamics to single-molecule research. His biophysics laboratory uses microbial populations to experimentally probe fundamental ideas in theoretical ecology and evolutionary systems biology. Jeff's recognitions and honors include an NIH New Innovator Award, NIH K99/R00 Pathways to Independence Award, and an NSF CAREER Award. He is a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, a Sloan Research Fellow, and an Allen Distinguished Investigator. He has also been recognized at MIT for his efforts in teaching and mentoring; in 2011 he was chosen as the MIT-wide undergraduate research (UROP) mentor of the year and in 2013 he received the Buechner Teaching Award from the Physics Department.