Paul Turner, Senior Associate

Paul Turner, Senior Associate

An ongoing space of research issues viral ecology, which addresses how viruses work together molecularly within their hosts, between their hosts, and with their surroundings. In specific, Turner and his laboratory members have used each phages and viruses of eukaryotes as laboratory models for elucidating evolutionary guidelines of RNA virus emergence. Paul Turner is the Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and school member in Microbiology at Yale School of Medicine. He studies the evolutionary genetics of viruses, particularly bacteriophages that specifically infect bacterial pathogens, and RNA viruses which might be vector-transmitted by mosquitoes.

Turner and colleagues, for instance, used RNA viruses to indicate that organic populations may be incapable of evolving to adapt in environments with random temperature changes, which is consistent with the predictions of some climate change fashions . His group additionally tracked molecular evolution in RNA virus populations to reveal that completely different mutations occur when viruses bounce rapidly versus gradually to novel host species . Turner’s RNA virus research have examined the evolutionary genetics of specialism versus generalism with the goal of determining how and why viruses evolve to turn into broad or narrow of their host breadth. In 2000, with Elena, he showed how single-host use in RNA viruses leads to developed specialization, whereas development on alternating hosts selects for virus generalists . Turner and his group then demonstrated that viruses can rapidly speciate when evolving on a brand new host species . Turner transferred to Michigan State University, where he earned a doctorate in zoology in 1995.

Evolutionary Constraints Of Viruses

Turner acquired numerous professional presents before accepting a position at Yale as assistant professor in the university’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2001. In 2002 he was invited to join the US delegation in a joint United States–Russia workshop on infectious disease in Novosibirsk. “I was honored to be selected for the delegation and to go to the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology , which houses considered one of only two samples on the planet of the smallpox virus,” Turner says. Another evaluation of RNA viruses discovered that when genetic adjustments randomly occur in their genomes, populations can evolve mutational robustness that buffers deleterious health results . Since strong viruses tolerate greater mutation frequencies, evolution of robustness could allow much less correct genome replication.

paul turner

The main focus of Paul Turner’s research is to study the evolutionary genetics and genomics of microbes, especially the ability of viruses to adapt to modifications of their biotic and abiotic environments. These research concern environmental challenges faced by viruses in any respect levels of organic group, together with effects of adjustments in molecules, proteins, cells, populations, communities and ecosystems. His work is very interdisciplinary, using microbiology, computational biology, genomics, molecular biology and mathematical-modeling approaches, and particularly experimental evolution (‘evolution-in-motion’) research under controlled laboratory situations. Turner makes use of all kinds of RNA and DNA viruses in his studies, together with various lytic, temperate and filamentous phages that infect micro organism.


In another examine his staff demonstrated that a history of prior RNA virus evolution in a number of hosts can foster the emergence of those viruses in novel hosts . Infectious ailments are prevalent in Cambodia, a country that’s battling poor infrastructure. Streptococcus pneumoniae causes probably the most extreme type of pneumonia and is now targeted by the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Additionally, Turner’s staff has demonstrated that viruses suffer evolutionary trade-offs throughout selective temperatures and across differing innate immune profiles of hosts.

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  • Paul Turner is the Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and college member in Microbiology at Yale School of Medicine.
  • He also often collaborates with his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, crediting his college students and mentees for their inspiration and help through the years.
  • With Lenski and a colleague, Turner used plasmids as fashions to check the theorized systematic trade-off between infectious and intergenerational modes of parasite transmission .
  • In 2016, he and his staff isolated from a Connecticut pond a lytic phage, OMKO1, which attacks the frequent multidrug-resistant pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa .
  • at Imperial College London, where his sponsors embody John Warner, Stephen Durham and Gideon Lack.

Turner’s analysis regularly uses microbes as model systems to test evolutionary and ecological theories. With Lenski and a colleague, Turner used plasmids as fashions to check the theorized systematic commerce-off between infectious and intergenerational modes of parasite transmission . The researchers confirmed that infectious parasites can’t evolve to concurrently maximize horizontal and vertical transfers between hosts.

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