We are very happy to announce that Ruth Hershberg has just accepted a tenure track position at the Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology). Ruth will establish an interdisciplinary lab, combining evolutionary theory, bioinformatics, computational and experimental genomics, and microbiology. She will continue studying the most fundamental driving forces in evolution: mutation and natural selection, and elucidating how each of these process shapes microbial genomic variation. More specifically Ruth will pursue the following topics: (i) Elucidating variation in the efficacy with which natural selection acts on different bacteria, and understanding the consequences of such variation on the evolution of bacterial genomes, (ii) Studying variation in mutational patterns across bacteria, (iii) Quantifying changes in mutational rates and patterns in response to stress, (iv) Understanding the evolutionary processes that drive codon usage bias, (v) The bacterial species concept.
The Technion is one of Israel’s top Universities, and provides some of the best research resources available in Israel. Ruth has been a star in the lab, publishing several beautiful papers, showing: (i) how the identity of optimal codons is chosen in evolution, (ii) that mutation is universally biased towards AT in bacteria and that variable genomic GC content is likely driven by natural selection, (iii) that the reduced selection on M. tuberculosis leads to high functional diversity, and (iv) that the reduced selection on Shigella led to a loss of many genes. We will miss her very much and hope to collaborate with her in the future. Anyone interested in joining Ruth’s lab, as either a postdoc, graduate or undergraduate student, or in collaborating with Ruth in any other way should contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.