Lilia Perfeito

Institute of Theoretical Physics
University of Cologne, Germany ,
KITP office 1207 from January 4 to March 24

I am currently a post-doc in the group of Michael Laessig at the University of Cologne. My previous project was done in collaboration with Karin Shnetz and I will now be collaborating with Berenike Maier. My background is microbiology and genetics but I have a keen interest in developing models that allow us to understand the evolution of key features of the biological world. Although my work is focused on Escherichia coli, I look for general features that can be applied to other species.

I am interested in using models of experimental evolution to measure parameters and test predictions from classical population genetics. Recently I have been using the lac operon of E. coli as a model to study the evolution of regulatory sequences. In order to understand how these elements evolve, it is important to analyze the impact of changes in protein expression on fitness. In other words, knowing the intermediate phenotypes which are affected by mutations at the genome level, will help us understand the impact of particular mutations on fitness.

During my PhD (with Isabel Gordo at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia), I worked on different aspects of adaptation also using E. coli as a model. In particular I was able to show that clonal interference can have a strong impact on estimates of the mutation rate to beneficial mutations. I also studied how spatial structure can enhance clonal interference and how beneficial mutations impact mutation accumulation experiments.

I am looking forward to talking to everyone at this Program. If you are interested please come by my office or send me an email.

L. Perfeito, I. Gordo and P.R.A. Campos The effect of spatial structure in adaptive evolution, Eur. Phys. J. B 51, 301-306 (2006)
L. Perfeito, L. Fernandes, C. Mota and I. Gordo Adaptive Mutations in Bacteria: High Rate and Small Effects Science 317, 813-815 (2007)
L. Perfeito, M. I. Pereira, P. R. A. Campos and I. Gordo The effect of spatial structure on adaptation in Escherichia coli Biol. Lett. 4, 57-59 (2008)
S. Trindade, L. Perfeito and I. Gordo Rate and effects of spontaneous mutations that affect fitness in mutator Escherichia coli Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 365, 1177-1186 (2010)
L. Perfeito, S. Ghozzi, J. Berg, K. Schnetz, M. Laessig Nonlinear fitness landscape of a metabolical pathway (submitted)