Gillevet, Patrick M. (Active)
George Mason University
Molecular evolution/Microbial ecology
Patrick was born in New Toronto, Ontario Canada on June 23, 1953 to Joseph Francis Gillevet and Carmen Yvette Gillevet. He is the oldest of 5 sisters and a brother. Patrick’s earliest recollection of being a biologist was when he was 4 years old and dug up a sunfish that had been buried for 3 days and then dissected it with his toy saw. He attended grade school in Oakville where he spent much of his free time wandering abandoned apple orchards collecting insects, frogs, turtles, and fish. The family moved to Manotick, Ontario in 1962 where he attended Grades 9 and 10 at St. Patrick’s High School in Ottawa. Here, Patrick spent his free time fishing on the Rideau Canal and spent his summers fishing at his grandfathers house in Bobcaygeon, Ontario. The family then moved to a farm outside of Perth, Ontario in 1964 where he learned to ride while working with American Saddlebreds. Patrick spent much of his free time hunting and trapping. He remembers having his single shot .22 confiscated for shooting muskrats without a permit along the shoulder of Number 7 highway. He was an avid hockey player and played goalie in a number of leagues. Patrick married in 1972 and moved to Toronto, Ontario where he worked summers in various factories while attended the University of Toronto where he graduated with the BS Degree in Microbiology in 1976. He spent considerable time with a life-long friend, Joe Spiteri, hunting in Northern Ontario. He has one son and two grandsons from his first marriage. Patrick moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba where he attended the University of Manitoba from 1976 to 1982 and obtained a PhD Degree in Biochemisty. He worked on the regulation of Acetyl Co-A reductase in Fatty Acid synthesis. He spent all his free time canoeing, hunting, fishing, cross country skiing, and winter camping. Additionally, he built a number of cedar stripper canoes for portaging between the lakes in the Whiteshell Provincial Park near the Boundary Waters. He remembers camping at -45C where he was able to hear the Northern Lights crackle. Another memorable event was watching a total solar eclipse in 1979 when the temperature was -40C. The temperature dropped 10 degrees when the shadow reached his location, accompanied by ice fog and shadow bands on the snow. Patrick then moved to Gainesville, Florida where he completed two consecutive Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Florida from 1982-1988. During this training, he developed his Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics skills. He worked on cloning and characterization of Calmodulin and mitochondrial ribosomal proteins and performed evolutionary comparisons of the ribosomal proteins in human and cows. In addition to hunting and fishing, he learned to scuba dive and obtained his Diver Master and Assistant Instructor certifications. He spent much of his free time on Scuba instruction and commercial spearfishing 40 miles off of Jacksonville where he had several disagreements with Sand Tiger sharks over who owned the dead fish. When he wasn’t underwater, he was fishing and hunting for deer, ducks, turkey, and quail. In 1987, Patrick married Trudy M. Cupp who received her Master’s degree in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Florida in 1997. She has been a constant companion in his adventures across the country. He and Trudy have two daughters, Emily and Adrienne. In 1988, Patrick moved to Urbana, Illinois to become the Technical Director of the Center for Prokaryotic Genome Analysis in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Illinois. There he worked with Carl Woese on the first microbial genome project that started sequencing Thermococcus celer. He invented "Thermal Cycle Sequencing” for the ABI fluorescent sequencer that is now widely used in both the academic and industrial communities. In 1990, Patrick moved to Cambridge, MA to become the Director of the Harvard Genome Laboratory at Harvard University. He directed the sequencing of the model organism Mycoplasma capricolum using a new probing strategy, Multiplex Genomic Walking, and developed a software environment called the Genetic Data Environment (GDE) that is still widely used in the academic community. In 1993, Patrick moved to Rockville, Maryland to become a Visiting Scientist at the National Center for Human Genome Research, National Institutes of Health. He established an integrated fluorescent sequencing facility to rapidly sequence cDNA involved in genetic lesions such as Trinucleotide repeat expansions. This system includes a LIMS based on GDE for the automated analysis of sequence data and its presentation in a HTML-based browsing system on the World Wide Web. Patrick moved to George Mason University in 1993 and held various research positions until 2002. He was then appointed as an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy and was promoted to Full Professor in 2012. He has been the Director of Microbiome Analysis Center since 2008. He currently is a Full Professor in the Biology Department. At George Mason University, Patrick has been using state of the art Genomics and Bioinformatics tools to study problems in Molecular Ecology and Evolution. He developed molecular techniques for the high throughput characterization of the interactions of bacteria, fungi, archae, protists in microbial communities and works on molecular systematics and population genetics. He developed a patented Multitag Sequencing methodology that allows one to perform deep sequencing on dozens of samples at one time. In recent years, Patrick has focused on the Molecular Ecology of the Human Microbiome and its relationship to human health and disease, which has spawned off two commercial companies. Patrick has been involved in a number of field studies while at George Mason University. These include coral disease studies in the Florida Keys using SCUBA to collect samples; submarine expeditions to collect Slit Shells (Pleurotomaria) at 3,000 feet in the Bahamas; studies of the Northern Swans in Virginia, Alaska, and Washington State; and ROV sampling of shipwrecks around the Deep Water Horizon spill. He has recently been doing experiments to reconstruct mechanisms for abiogenic synthesis of organics in the context of tholin synthesis in the outer planets and how this relates to the origin of life on earth. Patrick continues to be an avid hunter, training his Labrador retriever for upland game, and enjoys shooting sporting clays with his daughters. He was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 2016.