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Card, Kyle

Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
6130/40 Biomedical Physical Sciences (Lab)
6176 Biomedical Physical Sciences (Grad Office)
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 884-5377 (Lab)
(517) 884-5396 (Grad Office)




Kyle Card is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate and HHMI Gilliam Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Lenski. He is broadly interested in how relaxed selection on organismal traits, such as resistance to antibiotics, affect a population’s evolutionary potential in situations where those traits again become advantageous. There are two phenomena with public-health implications that led him to address this question. First, intrinsic resistance can decline when bacteria evolve in the absence of antibiotics. Second, evolution often compensates for the deleterious side-effects of mutations, leading to the long-term maintenance of evolved resistance. Considering these two seemingly opposed outcomes, he asks how readily bacteria can overcome prior losses of intrinsic resistance under relaxed selection through subsequent evolution when challenged with drugs. In his dissertation work, he focuses on the role that genetic background plays in this process, with emphasis on the tension between repeatability and contingency in resistance evolution on both the genotypic and phenotypic level.

Kyle is involved in activities that focus on and combine his interests in diversity, science outreach and communication, and mentorship. He is currently on a task force charged with recommending steps to elevate diversity and inclusion in ASM, he volunteers at MSU Museum’s Darwin Discovery Day, and runs his own blog. He has also been fortunate to work with and mentor two exceptional undergraduates during his dissertation studies. Kyle earned his B.S. in Microbiology in the MMG department where he worked with Dr. Frank Dazzo studying the structure and ecology of microbial biofilms.


  1. Card KJ, LaBar T, Gomez JB, & Lenski RE. (2019). Historical contingency in the evolutionof antibiotic resistance after decades of relaxed selection. PLoS Biology, 17(10), e3000397
  2. Lenski RE, Wiser MJ, Blount ZD, Nahum JR, Morris JJ, Zaman L, Turner CB, Wade BD, Madamsetti R, Burmeister AR, Baird EJ, Bundy J, Grant NA, Card KJ, Rowles M, Weatherspoon K, Papoulis SE, Sullivan R, Clark C, Mulka JS, & Hajela N. (2015). Sustained fitness gains and variability in fitness trajectories in the long-term evolution experiment with Escherichia coli. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, 282(1821), 20152292
  3. Ji Z, Card KJ, & Dazzo FB. (2015). CMEIAS JFrad: A digital computing tool to discriminate the fractal geometry of landscape architectures and spatial patterns of individual cells in microbial biofilms. Microbial Ecology, 69(3), 710-720


  1. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Department Lunch Seminar, Invited Talk, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. 2019.
  2. Microbial Population Biology Gordon Research Seminar, Selected Talk, Andover, NH. 2019.
  3. Molecular Mechanisms in Evolution Gordon Research Seminar, Selected Talk, Easton, MA. 2019.