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Franklin, Joshua

Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
6118 Biomedical Physical Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 884-5371




Josh is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Yann Dufour’s lab, where he studies evolutionary trade-offs associated with flagellar motility. To better understand these trade-offs, Josh has developed techniques for precisely estimating growth rates by combining traditional 96-well plate growth curve assays with hierarchical mixed-effect models. These growth curve techniques are also applicable to many other research questions, such as estimating fitness costs of antibiotic resistance.

Josh is interested in using games to teach complex biological concepts such as chemotaxis, which is the process by which bacteria can swim toward food or away from toxins and predators. With the help of Yann Dufour, he co-developed and co-taught a two-week molecular biology course to high schoolers that was primarily based on games students could play in their web browser. Example games are available on the Dufour lab website (

Prior to attending graduate school at MSU, Josh attended Virginia Tech and received a B.S. in Biological Sciences, with a minor in chemistry. As an undergraduate Josh performed research in Brian Badgley’s lab at Virginia Tech, studying environmental microbiology and microbial source tracking. This included collecting water samples along a local river and performing qPCR to detect the presence of human fecal contamination. He also worked as a lab technician for a year before graduate school where he studied the effects of cover crops on soil microbial diversity and metabolic activity on several farms in Virginia.


  1. J. Franklin, T. LaBar, C. Adami. 2019 “Mapping the peaks: Fitness landscapes of the fittest and the flattest”. Artificial Life Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 250–262


  1. J. Franklin, I. Spöring, K. Grady and Y. Dufour, “How Many Flagella are Enough? Fitness Costs of Flagella in Salmonella enterica” at ASBMB Evolution and Core Processes in Gene Expression 2019, East Lansing, MI, Jan 2019. (First place in poster competition)
  2. J. Franklin, I. Spöring, K. Grady and Y. Dufour, “How Many Flagella are Enough? Fitness Costs of Flagella in Salmonella enterica” at BLAST 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan 2019. (First place in poster competition)
  3. J. Franklin, A. Otwell, T. Brantley and Y. Dufour, “How Many is Too Many? The Cost of Flagella In Salmonella enterica” at BEACON Congress 2018, East Lansing, MI, Aug 2018.
  4. J. Franklin, K. Grady, and Y. Dufour, “Correlation between Number of Flagella and Swimming Behavior” at BEACON Congress 2017, East Lansing, MI, Aug 2017.