evo dynamics

Evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic resISTANCE lab

What drives the evolution of antibiotic resistance? How resistance spreads in bacterial populations? Can we predict the evolution of antibiotic resistance?  We are tackling these and other questions in the Evolutionary Dynamics of Antibiotic Resistance Lab, located at the Ramón y Cajal Institute for Health Research (Ramón y Cajal University Hospital) in Madrid.


Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections are arguably one of the major threats for human health. Our laboratory seeks to understand the ecological and evolutionary processes that drive the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistant clones. Ultimately, this will allow us to develop new therapeutic approaches to tackle the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. We work on the following three highly inter-related topics (among others).

The role of plasmids in bacterial evolution.

Plasmids play a crucial role in bacterial ecology and evolution because they mobilize key traits by horizontal gene transfer. However, the evolutionary impact of plasmids goes above and beyond being mere gene delivery platforms. Recent evidence suggest that plasmid-encoded genes evolve differently than chromosomal genes. Using experimental approaches combined with mathematical simulations and bioinformatic analyses, we try to decipher and understand the rules governing plasmid evolution.

What drives the ecological and evolutionary success of high-risk bacterial clones?

One of the main drivers of the antimicrobial resistance crisis is the emergence and global dissemination of epidemiologically successful drug-resistant clones. These high-risk clones have acquired certain adaptive traits that increase their pathogenicity and survival skills, including the acquisition of antibiotic resistance. We take advantage of cutting-edge genetic technologies to understand the ecological and evolutionary bases of the success of high-risk clones. We believe that this mechanistic understanding will feed essential information for predicting (and avoiding) future expansions of antimicrobial resistant high-risk clones and provide a conceptual framework to better manage infections.


Alternative strategies to counteract the evolution of antimicrobial resistance.

Resistance to virtually all antibiotics has been reported soon after their introduction to clinical use, suggesting that the apparition of resistance will eventually outpace humankind’s ability to develop new antimicrobial compounds. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new intervention strategies to counteract the evolution of antibiotic resistance. In the lab, we take advantage of recent molecular biology advances to develop new approaches to overcome antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations.

Jerónimo Rodríguez-Beltrán

Group leader

Jerónimo Rodríguez-beltrán

My work focus on understanding how bacteria evolve to resist antibiotics, outpacing human efforts to counter bacterial infections. During my PhD (2015, Seville, Spain), I acquired extensive knowledge on the genetic responses that bacteria elicit when treated with antibiotics, and specifically how these responses are able to promote bacterial survival and evolution. During my postdoc at the PBE lab I studied a complementary aspect of bacterial evolution; plasmid-mediated antibiotic resistance. In 2021, I started the Evodynamics lab thanks to a Miguel Servet Fellowship. In my spare time, l like mountain biking and brewing my own beer.

Paula Ramiro Martínez

PhD Student

Paula Ramiro Martínez

I graduated in Biology at the Rey Juan Carlos University (Madrid, Spain) and I also have a MSc in Biotechnology. During my internship in clinical microbiology, I fell in love with this field and, above all, I became quite interested in antibiotic resistance. Now, I am delighted to be part of the Evodynamics lab and to work in understanding bacterial evolution and its connection to antibiotic resistance. When I'm not in the lab, I love spending time with friends and family, watching series and movies, and reading.

Laura Jaraba Soto


Laura Jaraba Soto

As a person with a profound curiosity for science, I am very happy to work at the Evodynamics lab, and learn new things everyday. I consider myself a hard-working, orderly person, who tries to help as much as possible. I really like animals, and I enjoy taking care of my cockatiels, playing video games or cooking sweets.

Lab Amigos

Meet our friends and collaborators!

MBA lab

Jose A. Escudero

MBA lab

MacLean Lab

Craig R. MacLean

MacLean Lab

EcoEvoBiome Lab

Teresa Coque

EcoEvoBiome Lab

PBE lab

Álvaro San Millán

PBE lab


Alfonso Santos López


Peña-Miller Lab

Rafael Peña Miller

Peña-Miller Lab

Nature Reviews Microbiology (2021)

Jerónimo Rodríguez-Beltrán, Javier DelaFuente, Ricardo León-Sampedro, R Craig MacLean, Álvaro San Millán.

ELIFE (2021)

Cristina Herencias, Jerónimo Rodríguez-Beltrán , Ricardo León-Sampedro, Aida Alonso-del Valle, Jana Palkovičová, Rafael Cantón, Álvaro San Millán


Jerónimo Rodríguez-Beltrán, Vidar Sørum, Macarena Toll-Riera, Carmen de la Vega, Rafael Peña-Miller, Álvaro San Millán


Jeronimo Rodriguez-Beltran, J Carlos R Hernandez-Beltran, Javier DelaFuente, Jose A Escudero, Ayari Fuentes-Hernandez, R Craig MacLean, Rafael Peña-Miller, Alvaro San Millan




Interested in working with us? We are always looking for motivated students and postdocs.

Please reach out to discuss opportunities!


Servicio de microbiología

Edificio de consultas externas, planta 0.

Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal

Crtra. Colmenar km 9.1 · 28034 ·  Madrid