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Alfred Spormann Chris Francis Paul Rainey John Roth
Alfred Spormann is professor of microbiology in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, California. His research interests focus on the molecular bases of metabolic, genetic, and ecological interactions of microbes in complex environments. In particular, his group investigates the biochemistry, metabolic pathways, and metabolic ecology of unusual microbes and their communities in natural, engineered, and the human ecosystem.
Chris Francis is professor of microbial ecology in the department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. Research interests center on the molecular, biochemical, and ecological aspects of the microbial geochemical cycling of nitrogen and metals in the environment. He is particularly interested in determining the key organisms, functional genes, and molecular mechanisms underlying these biogeochemical processes through both laboratory and field studies.  Paul Rainey is professor of evolutionary genetics at the NZ Institute for Advanced Study, Massey University Auckland.  He is also director of the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, visiting professor at Stanford and senior adjunct researcher at EAWAG (Zürich).  His research concerns the fit between organisms and their environment. He is interested in the traits that determine this fit, and in the evolution of these traits by natural selection.  Rainey's laboratory spans the field of experimental evolution, microbial genetics and population genetics. John R. Roth is a professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Davis. He works on genetic analysis of bacteria with emphasis on metabolism, mutation, recombination and chromosome rearrangement. Increasingly his interests focus the relationship (or lack thereof) between genetics in the lab and in natural populations. Why does cobalamin define Salmonella as a species? What is a species? Does selection cause mutations? What is the point of Mendelian inheritance? Where do genes come from and why do they cluster in bacterial genomes? Is horizontal transfer overrated? How did life originate?