Welcome to the Ratcliff Lab!

Our lab uses a combination of synthetic biology, directed evolution, and mathematical modeling to understand how multicellular organisms evolve from single-celled ancestors. 

Our lab’s main project is the Multicellularity Long Term Evolution Experiment (MuLTEE). We are exploring how simple groups of cells can evolve to become increasingly integrated and organismal over thousands of generations of evolution in the lab. Read more about this ongoing project, or take a look at what we’re currently working on.

Latest News from the lab

  • Rozenn has successfully defended her PhD thesis

    Join us as we celebrate Rozenn’s outstanding accomplishment! It is with immense pride and excitement that we celebrate the remarkable achievement of one of our own today. Our lab is buzzing with applause and congratulations as we extend our warmest wishes to Rozenn on successfully defending their thesis!  Over the past few years, she has poured her heart and soul into her research, and her efforts have paid off in the most spectacular way. She has been an integral part of our lab, and her impact on our research community extends far beyond the thesis work. She has inspired fellow lab members, offering guidance, support, and encouragement throughout her academic journey.
    Once again, congratulations, Dr. Rozenn Pineau, on your remarkable achievement in successfully defending your thesis. Your hard work, determination, and unwavering passion for science have paid off, and we can’t wait to see where your journey takes you next!

  • Autumn Peterson is awarded the HHMI Gilliam Fellowship

    We would like to congratulate Autumn Peterson and Dr. William Ratcliff on being awarded the prestigious HHMI Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study. Autumn is a Ph.D. student in our lab who is exploring the evolution of phototrophy and the role of life cycles in the evolution of multicellularity. As a part of the fellowship, she will be receiving $53,000 per year for up to three years for dissertation research. This fellowship is awarded by HHMI to student-advisor pairs based on the student’s potential for scientific leadership and the advisor’s commitment to a culture of inclusion in academia.

  • Undergraduate research symposium

    We are happy to announce that Harley Yopp and Saranya Gourisetti won second place at the undergraduate research symposium. They worked under the mentorship of Peter L Conlin and Kai Tong to study “The maintenance and loss of polyploidy in experimental evolution”