In Plain English: John Mercer
Before going to college John Mercer joined the Navy. See the world! Experience life! After much training John became a reactor operator (electronic technician reactor, 1st class) on a nuclear submarine. He saw a lot of gray paint. Then he went to college and graduate school to study first biophysics, then chemical physics, but eventually he became a biologist and embarked on a different kind of fantastic voyage.
On this voyage John has descended to the level of DNA molecules and proteins, the technicians 1st class of the cell, to see how they evolve. Many powerful techniques exist for studying proteins: drawing their three-dimensional structure, analyzing their chemistry, constructing mathematical models. You can manipulate their structure by changing some components, put the result into a yeast or bacterial cell, and sit back and watch as the generations roll by. By putting the same line of cells in different environments, you can see if your modified protein makes any difference to the cells' ability to adapt, and ultimately evolve. John hopes one day to understand the selective pressures that cause proteins to change.
In the meantime, BEAT ARMY!