"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" T. Dobzhansky, 1975

"Evolution is widely perceived as being interesting but not important" S. Yokoyama, 1994

"In our society 'important' means sports and entertainment, making lots of money, or keeping us alive and healthy. In general, evolutionary biologists aren't athletes, can't sing, dance or act worth a damn, and we sure as hell don't make money. That leaves medicine, and, if we want the public to continue to fund our interest in understanding evolutionary processes, we had better make the medical importance of our work clear." Barry Hall, 2005



The Bellingham Research Institute is interested in applying our understanding of molecular evolution to practical problems, particularly those related to infections diseases.

Our efforts include:
  • Developing methods for tracking the spread of Leprosy and for understanding the transmission of Mycobacterium leprae, the bacterium that causes leprosy. We are currently maintaining a database of individual Mycobacterium leprae isolates and their the molecular markers.
  • Understanding the evolution of Antibiotic Resistance genes, particularly through phylogenetic analysis.
  • Developing and analyzing tools and methods for phylogenetic analysis.
  • Writing and distributing Software including a DNA evolution simulation program, and several clustering programs.
  • Developing methods for high-resolution typing of bacterial isolates on the basis of the presence or absence of certain genes.