The Plasmid Biology and Evolution lab is part of the Unit of Evolutionary Biology of Microorganisms within the IRYCIS (Ramon y Cajal Institute for Health Research), located in the Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid.
In the PBE lab we are interested in the evolutionary forces that drive plasmid dynamics in bacterial populations. Plasmids play a crucial role in bacterial ecology and evolution because they can transfer genes horizontally between different bacteria. The most striking example of how plasmids drive bacterial evolution is the global spread of plasmid-mediated antibiotic resistance over the last few decades. Plasmids are arguably the main vehicle for the spread of antibiotic resistance genes among clinically relevant bacteria, contributing to the overwhelming antibiotic resistance crisis we are currently facing.
In our group we try to understand the population genetics of antibiotic resistance plasmids using advanced molecular and evolutionary techniques. Ultimately, we intend to apply the concepts that we learn from the study of the evolution of plasmid-mediated antibiotic resistance to develop more rational intervention strategies to control infectious diseases.