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Paul Turner, PhD

Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Research Summary

Because microorganisms allow experiments on the order of hundreds (or even thousands) of generations, microbes provide a uniquely powerful system to study evolution in action. My laboratory uses microorganisms (RNA viruses, DNA viruses, bacteria) as model systems to address hypotheses in ecological and evolutionary theory, especially questions regarding the evolution of genetic exchange (sex), virus ecology and evolution, host-parasite interactions, and the evolution of infectious disease. I use an inter-disciplinary approach to investigate these processes, employing techniques from microbiology, population genetics, genomics, molecular biology, and mathematical modeling.

Extensive Research Description

Dr. Paul Turner is the Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and Microbiology faculty member at Yale School of Medicine. He obtained a BA in Biology (1988) from University of Rochester, a PhD in Microbial Evolution (1995) from Michigan State University, and did postdocs at National Institutes of Health, University of Valencia in Spain, and University of Maryland-College Park, before joining Yale in 2001. Dr. Turner studies evolutionary genetics of viruses, particularly phages that infect bacterial pathogens and RNA viruses transmitted by arthropods, and researches the use of phages to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseases. He is very active in science-communication outreach to the general public, and is involved in programs where faculty collaborate with K-12 teachers to improve STEMM education in underserved public schools. Dr. Turner’s service includes the National Science Foundation’s Bio Advisory Committee, and his honors include Fellowship in the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and American Academy of Microbiology.


Research Interests

RNA Viruses

Selected Publications