Santiago F. Elena Fito
Elena is an international leader in the field of microbial experimental evolution. He has made major contributions to our empirical understanding of evolutionary dynamics, epistatic interactions between mutations, and the structure of adaptive landscapes. His systematic study of epistatic interactions involving hundreds of random insertion mutations in bacteria (Nature, 1997) and viruses (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2007) set the stage for many follow-on studies, and his lab was the first to demonstrate clonal interference in virus populations (Science, 1999). Elena’s recent work focuses on the evolution of plant viruses with important implications for agriculture while continuing to address fundamental problems in evolution. He is also applying Systems Biology approaches to address the evolution of the molecular interactions between viruses and their hosts.