Associate Professor of Microbiology
Biocomplexity Research Theme Faculty, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Whitaker lab focuses on the evolutionary ecology of microbial populations. They combine field sampling of natural populations with culture and non-culture based genetic and genomic analyses. Currently they are working on understanding how the interactions between basic population genetic parameters (mutation, selection, recombination and genetic exchange, neutral genetic drift, and biogeography) shape diversity, promote ecological differentiation, and lead to speciation in the microbial world. Ultimately they will develop a comparative approach, describing natural population dynamics of different species across spatial and temporal scales, with a particular interest in how population structures reflect the unique biology and ecology of organisms in the Archaeal domain.