Aaron Goldman

  • Associate Professor of Biology

Areas of Study


  • BA, Swarthmore College, 2003
  • PhD, University of Washington, 2010
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University, 2010-2013


The Goldman lab studies protein and proteome evolution with a special focus on early cellular life and the emergence of ancient metabolic systems. The evolutionary tree of life coalesces into a single root representing an ancestral population that lived about 3.5 billion years ago. Many features of these ancestors are still buried within the genomes of organisms alive today. Evolution over billions of years has obscured the ancient signature of most of these features, making them difficult to identify.

Our lab takes advantage of the tremendous growth in genomic and proteomic data to find these ancient genes and reassemble them into metabolic and physiological systems. Much of this work begins with our database , which brings multiple independent lines of evidence together into a single framework.

We develop complex algorithms and use a range of computational biology methods to identify ancient genes and test hypotheses about early evolutionary history.

  • Goldman AD, Beatty JT , Landweber LF (2016) The TIM Barrel Fold Facilitated the Early Evolution of Protein-Mediated Metabolism. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 82:17-26.
  • Goldman AD, Landweber LF (2016) What is a Genome? PLoS Genetics. 2: e1006181.
  • Goldman AD (2014) Astrobiology: an overview. In VM Kolb (Ed.) Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
  • Goldman AD, Bernhard TM, Dolzhenko E, Landweber LF (2013) LUCApedia: a database for the study of ancient life. Nucleic Acids Research, 41:D1079-82
  • Goldman AD, Landweber LF (2012) Oxytricha as a modern analog of ancient genome evolution. Trends in Genetics, 28:382-388
  • Goldman AD, Baross JA, Samudrala R (2012) The enzymatic and metabolic capabilities of life forms during the origin of life. PLoS One, 7:e39912
  • Goldman AD, Samudrala R, Baross JA (2010). The evolution and functional repertoire of translation proteins following the origin of life. Biology Direct, 5:15

See Google Scholar for a complete list of publications.

Spring 2022

Genomics — BIOL 336

Fall 2022

Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry — BIOL 213
Origin(s) of Life — BIOL 407


Faculty Members Receive Promotions

May 15, 2019

Eleven faculty members have been promoted to the rank of professor or associate professor. We asked each about their most memorable experience and what they enjoy about being a professor.