The Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution
was officially established at the Marine Biological Laboratory in January of 1997. It is made possible by a generous endowment from the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation which has had a philanthropic interest in the MBL for the past twenty years. One of the most recent and exciting areas in biology focuses on defining the complete genetic sequence, or the genome, of organisms populating this planet. These genetic sequences are the blueprints for proteins, the molecules that make the physical and chemical processes of life happen. When the genomes of different organisms are compared, we can frequently pinpoint the genes responsible for congenital conditions or susceptibility to disease. This information will have an impact on all the disciplines in the life sciences well into the next century as researchers study the function, structure, and evolutionary history of all biological systems. Using the information carried in our chromosomes and understanding how these chemicals translate code into action has given rise to dynamic collaborations among all biologists who seek to unravel the mysteries of life.A significant impact that genomic studies can have is answering the questions: “Where Did We Come From?”, “How Did We Get Here?”, and “What Can We Do to Manage our Destiny?” The Josephine Bay Paul Center in Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution brings the power of studies of genomes to address these questions. Molecular techniques are used to acquire and compare gene sequence data. The comparison of genetic elements that have been passed from generation to generation makes possible the measurement of genetic differences among members of populations, species, and even among kingdoms of organisms. Molecular data provide a practical metric for assessing biodiversity and for making evolutionary comparisons among organisms. These elementary genetic sequences can serve as living fossils from the dawn of life.The aim of the Center is to bring together the technical expertise and intellectual activity of several multi-disciplinary laboratories already established at the MBL. Specifically, the major emphasis of the Center is placed upon comparative/phylognetic studies of genes and genomes, molecular microbial ecology/biodiversity and evolution of host defense mechanisms in marine invertebrates. Through studies of genotypic diversity across all phyla and the use of modern molecular genetics and phylogeny, the Center hopes to gain insights into the evolution of molecular structure and function.
RESEARCH at the Center explores the evolution and interaction of genomes of diverse organisms that play significant roles in environmental biology and human health. Projects span all evolutionary time scales, from deep phylogenetic divergence of ancestral prokaryotic and eukaryotic lineages to ecological analyses of how members of diverse communities contribute and respond to environmental change.
The Center also houses the Mobile Genetic Element Cluster, which includes MBL-affiliated year-round and summer investigators who are studying mobile DNA, and the Imaging Microbial Diversity Cluster, which includes Bay Paul Center and other MBL investigators who are developing new methods to visualize the diversity of microbes and their spatial relationship.The Center is part of the Brown University – Marine Biological Laboratory Graduate Program in Biological and Environmental Sciences. Most faculty are currently accepting students.
Julie Huber to lead cruise to Axial Seamount on Falkor RV
Mitch Sogin and Sue Huse named people to watch in 2013 by Cape Cod Magazine
3 Graduate students from the Bay Paul Center receive their Ph.D.s
Mark Welch Lab
Amaral Zettler Lab
Merkel, A., Huber, J.A., Chernyh, N., Bonch-Osmolovskaya, E. and A. Lebedinsky. 2013. Detection of putatively thermophilic anaerobic methanotrophs (ANMEs) in diffuse hydrothermal vent fluids. Applied and Environmental Microbiology.79:915-923.
Brandt, B.W., Bonder, M.J., Huse, S.M., Zaura, E. TaxMan: a server to trim rRNA reference databases and inspect taxonomic coverage. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jul;40(Web Server issue):W82-7. Epub 2012 May 22.
Anton F Post, Branko Rihtman and Qingfeng Wang (2012). Decoupling of ammonium regulation and ntcA transcription in the diazotrophic marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium sp. IMS101. The ISME Journal (2012) 6, 629–637; doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.121;