This course will survey the genetic and biophysical forces that have shaped the evolutionary history of genes and proteins. The first lecture will review basic concepts in molecular evolution and mutational processes, while the latter lectures will discuss recent theoretical and experimental advances. Topics to be covered include: mutational processes; positive and negative selection; neutral theory of protein evolution; predicting deleterious protein mutations; evolution of gene expression and gene regulation; de novo mutations; biophysical models of protein evolution; protein sequence and structure spaces; mutational robustness; evolvability; epistasis and co-evolution of interacting amino acid residues; and examples of using evolutionary information to infer biophysical properties of proteins.
Evaluation will be based on presentation (40%), demonstration of understanding of the assigned reading material and participation in discussion (20%), and a short mini-review paper which includes a proposal of new research directions (40%).
Dates: February - March 2020
Enrollment: 8-10 students