Victoria Pearson is a doctoral candidate in Dr. Darin Rokyta’s lab. She recently had a manuscript published in PLoS One on epistatic patterns of beneficial mutations across closely related viral strains. Her work showed evidence for a phenomenon known as diminishing returns epistasis, where beneficial fitness effects are inversely proportional to starting fitness of a strain. Her current dissertation work involves isolating single stranded DNA viruses from wastewater treatment plants for culture independent high-throughput sequencing. This targeted metagenomic approach allows her to investigate the largely uncharacterized natural genetic diversity within this group viruses.
Pearson VM, Miller CR, Rokyta DR (2012) The Consistency of Beneficial Fitness Effects of Mutations across Diverse Genetic Backgrounds. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43864. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043864