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Jeffrey E Barrick

Associate Professor
Molecular Biosciences

Microbial experimental evolution and synthetic biology


Phone: 512-471-3247

Office Location
MBB 1.436

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

B.S., California Institute of Technology (2001)
Ph.D., Yale University (2006)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Michigan State University (2006-2010)


Controlling evolution is key to combating the emergence of drug resistance, preventing the progression of chronic infections and cancers, and maintaining the function of genetically engineered cells. Evolution can also be directed and harnessed for biotechnology and medicine, to create novel therapeutics and to optimize microbial bioprocessing, for example. We study microbial evolution “in action”, increasingly in ways inspired by problems and possibilities related to synthetic biology applications.

View all publications on barricklab.org

View all publications on Google Scholar

Representative Publications 

Geng, P., Leonard, S.P., Mishler, D.M., Barrick, J.E. (2019) Synthetic genome defenses against selfish DNA elements stabilize engineered bacteria against evolutionary failure. ACS Synth. Biol. 8:521-531.

Deatherage, D.E., Leon, D., Rodriguez, Á.E., Omar, S., Barrick, J.E. (2018) Directed evolution of Escherichia coli with lower-than-natural plasmid mutation rates. Nucleic Acids Res. 46:9236-9250.

Leonard, S.P., Perutka, J., Powell, J.E., Geng, P., Richhart, D., Byrom, M., Kar, S., Davies, B.W., Ellington, A.D., Moran, N.A., Barrick, J.E. (2018) Genetic engineering of bee gut microbiome bacteria with a toolkit for modular assembly of broad-host-range plasmids. ACS Synth. Biol. 7:1279-1290

Deatherage, D.E., Kepner, J.L., Bennett, A.F., Lenski, R.E., Barrick, J.E. (2017) Specificity of genome evolution in experimental populations of Escherichia coli evolved at different temperatures. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114:E1904-E1912.

Tenaillon, O., Barrick, J.E., Ribeck, N., Deatherage, D.E., Blanchard, J.L, Dasgupta, A., Wu, G.C., Wielgoss, S., Cruveiller, S., Medigue, C., Schneider, D., Lenski, R.E.^ (2016) Tempo and mode of genome evolution in a 50,000-generation experiment. Nature 536:165-170.

Renda, B.A., Hammerling, M.J., Barrick, J.E. (2014) Engineering reduced evolutionary potential for synthetic biology. Mol. Biosyst. 10:1668-1678.

Deatherage, D.E., Barrick, J.E. (2014) Identification of mutations in laboratory-evolved microbes from next-generation sequencing data using breseqMethods Mol. Biol. 1151:165-188.

Hammerling, M.J., Ellefson, J.W., Boutz, D.R., Marcotte, E.M., Ellington, A.D., Barrick, J.E. (2014) Bacteriophages use an expanded genetic code on evolutionary paths to higher fitness. Nat. Chem. Biol. 10:178-180.

Barrick, J.E., Lenski, R.L. (2013) Genome dynamics during experimental evolution. Nat. Rev. Genet. 14:827-834.


  • Defense Science Study Group
  • NSF CAREER Award
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award
  • RNA Society/Scaringe Young Scientist Award

BCH 339F: Foundations of Biochemistry

NSC 110: Biotechnology and Society

UT Austin iGEM Team