Joy Bergelson

professor, evolutionary biologist, plant biologist

New York, US

coevolution ecology evolution plant science microbiome



I am an evolutionary biologist, ecologist and plant scientist who is fascinated with the interactions between plants and their enemies. We study the coevolutionary process in nature, with a particular interest in understanding how hosts survive attack from their myriad enemies. Afterall, enemies have a huge advantage in terms of their rates of evolution and their population sizes -- how do host plants keep up in this evolutionary battle? Part of the answer has to do with the ecological complexity in which these systems reside, and another part has to do with the complexity of the immune repertoire. Yet another part has to do with the microbiome and the microbial interactions that keep enemies in check. We seek to use field experiments, genomics, molecular genetics and good old fashioned genetics to unravel these rich interactions.

Aside from my fascination with nature, I am an ardent enthusiast of the arts - from classical music to contemporary art. I enjoy interacting with artists and viewing their works. I also worked with architects to construct the first modern field station built to passive standards in the US. This was an exciting project that ended up with a beautiful building.