Genetics

The study of heredity and gene action is one of the most rapidly developing fields of biology. A thorough understanding of genetics is essential to modern advances in agriculture, medicine, and many industrial fields dealing with biological diversity. The information content of genetic sequences is enormous and is rapidly becoming a major tool in tracing evolutionary lineages and in reassessing biological classification.

Daniele Armaleo

Associate Professor of the Practice of Biology

My research centers on the developmental and molecular biology of lichens, well differentiated symbioses between two or three evolutionarily unrelated organisms: specialized fungi on the one hand and algae or cyanobacteria on the other. The 13,500 known lichen species represent 50% of all known ascomycete fungi, are widespread throughout most terrestrial ecosystems, and often... Full Profile »

L. Ryan Baugh

Associate Professor of Biology

We study nutritional control of development in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans. We are interested in the signaling pathways and gene regulatory mechanisms that enable the worm to reversibly arrest development and resist stress in response to starvation. We are also investigating epigenetic mechanisms responsible for transgenerational effects of starvation. Full Profile »

Amy Bejsovec

Associate Professor of Biology

My laboratory explores the molecular mechanisms of pattern formation in developing embryos. We focus on the Wingless(Wg)/Wnt class of secreted growth factor: these molecules promote cell-cell communication leading to important cell fate decisions during the development of both vertebrate and invertebrate embryos. In addition, this highly conserved pathway is essential for maintaining stem cell populations and is associated with human cancers when inappropriately activated in adult tissues. Wg/... Full Profile »

Philip N. Benfey

Paul Kramer Professor of Biology in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

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Sherryl A. Broverman

Associate Professor of the Practice of Biology

How inclusion of civic issues, international connections, and social engagement alters the cognitive and affective responses of non- major science students to science education. How course design impacts the demographics (gender, race, etc) of student enrollment in elective science courses. Developing international science courses. The factors that impact educational outcomes for girls in rural Kenya. The impact of sustainable school gardens on anthropomorphic and cognitive outcomes in... Full Profile »

Xinnian Dong

Arts and Sciences Professor of Biology in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, my laboratory studies the mechanisms of plant defense against microbial pathogens. We focus on a specific response known as systemic acquired resistance (SAR). SAR, which can be induced by a local infection, provides the plants with long lasting, systemic resistance against a broad spectrum of pathogens. Salicylic acid (SA; an... Full Profile »

Kathleen Donohue

Professor of Biology

We investigate the genetic basis of adaptation, including the evolution of phenotypic plasticity and maternal effects, niche construction, dispersal, and mechanisms of multilevel natural selection. Full Profile »

Nicholas W. Gillham

James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Zoology

The objective of my collaborative research with Dr. John Boynton in the Department of Botany is to understand how nuclear and organelle genomes interact in controlling the biogenesis of chloroplasts and mitochondria. For many years we have used the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model experimental system. This alga has well developed... Full Profile »

Steven B. Haase

Associate Professor of Biology

In order to divide, cells must first duplicate their entire contents, and then segregate the duplicated contents equally into two daughter cells. The duplication and segregation events of the cell division cycle must be triggered in a strict temporal order to insure that each new daughter cell is identical to the original mother cell. Using the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a model system, we are investigating the role of a highly conserved family of cell cycle regulatory... Full Profile »

Alison Hill

Senior Lecturer of Biology

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Daniel P. Kiehart

Professor of Biology

Our intellectual focus is on identifying determinants of cell shape that function during development and wound healing. We utilize novel biophysical strategies (in collaboration with Glenn Edwards' group in Physics and with Stephanos Venakide's and John Harer's groups in Mathematics) in concert with modern molecular genetic and reverse genetic approaches in Drosophila to explore the forces that are responsible for cell shape change and movements. We show that both the amnioserosa and a... Full Profile »

Paul Mitaari Magwene

Associate Professor of Biology

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John M. Mercer

Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Biology

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Thomas Mitchell-Olds

Newman Ivey White Professor of Biology in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

We study genetic variation in plant populations, focusing on genes that influence traits controlling plant performance in an environmental context – a central theme throughout our research in natural and agricultural populations. Much of our work is focused on the genes that affect ecological success and evolutionary fitness in natural environments. Similarly, the interaction of crop plants with their biotic and abiotic environments is controlled by complex trait variation which can be... Full Profile »

H. Frederik Nijhout

John Franklin Crowell Professor of Biology

Fred Nijhout is broadly interested in developmental physiology and in the interactions between development and evolution. He has several lines of research ongoing in his laboratory that on the surface may look independent from one another, but all share a conceptual interest in understanding how complex traits arise through, and are affected by, the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. 1) The control of polyphenic development in insects. This work attempts to understand how... Full Profile »

Mohamed A. F. Noor

Professor of Biology

One of the greatest unsolved questions in biology is how continuous processes of evolutionary change produce the discontinuous groups known as species. For a many years, my team studied hybrid sterility and behavioral mate preferences using classical, QTL-based, or molecular genetic approaches on Drosophila species as model organisms. More recently, the availability of multiple whole-genome sequences (some public but especially those we have obtained ourselves) has dramatically enhanced the... Full Profile »

Zhen-Ming Pei

Associate Professor of Biology

My laboratory is interested in the early signaling events by which plants sense environmental signals and decode to give the appropriate responses. Upon perception of external signals, cell surface receptors trigger an increase in cytosolic free calcium concentration, which is mediated by ion channels. Our long-term goals are to identify these receptors and ion channels, isolate their interacting components, and assign molecular functions to them. Currently, we are using multidisciplinary... Full Profile »

Mark D. Rausher

John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Biology

We investigate the evolutionary processes that cause change at both the phenotypic and genetic levels. We have particular interests in the genetic basis of adaptation and in the evolution of metabolic pathways. Our approaches include molecular dissection of ecologically important phenotypes and characterizing patterns of selection acting on those phenotypes under natural conditions. For more information, please visit the Rausher lab web site. Full Profile »

Allen G Rodrigo

Adjunct Professor of Biology

My research focuses on evolutionary bioinformatics and computatioanl biology. In particular, I am interested in the development of novel methods to study the evolution of genes, genomes, organisms and species. Full Profile »

David R. Sherwood

Associate Professor in the Department of Biology

Our research is directed at elucidating mechanisms underlying morphogenetic processes in development. We primarily use the model system C. elegans in our research, and combine powerful genetic and systems biology approaches with live-cell imaging to address three main topics:   Tissue Remodeling and Connection A major focus of the lab is the understanding of mechanisms underlying uterine-vulval attachment. A key aspect of this process is the invasion of a single uterine cell,... Full Profile »

Nina Tang Sherwood

Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Biology

We use Drosophila melanogaster as a model to understand nervous system development and function. In a genetic screen for molecules important to these processes, we discovered the fly ortholog of the spastin gene, which when mutated in humans leads to a progressive neurodegenerative disease called Autosomal-Dominant Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (AD-HSP). Individuals with AD-HSP have difficulty walking, sometimes from as early as childhood, and can end up confined to wheelchairs. We have shown... Full Profile »

James N. Siedow

Professor Emeritus of Biology

Physiological, biochemical and molecular studies of plant oxidative processes. Research in my laboratory studies metabolic processes related to aerobic respiration in plants and fungi. Specifically, this research involves isolating and characterizing the structural and regulatory features of the cyanide-resistant "alternative" oxidase associated with all plant and many fungal mitochondria. The mechanism of action of a regulatory sulfhydryl-disulfide system on the alternative oxidase and its... Full Profile »

Tai-ping Sun

Professor of Biology

The diterpenoid phytohormone gibberellin (GA) plays pivotal roles in regulating growth and development throughout the life cycle of higher plants. Mutations affecting GA biosynthesis or GA response were the key to control plant stature in wheat and rice that led to dramatically increased grain yield and contributed greatly to the success of the ‘Green Revolution’ in the 1960s. Although the GA biosynthetic pathway had been characterized biochemically, little was known about the sites of GA... Full Profile »

Marcy K. Uyenoyama

Professor of Biology

Marcy Uyenoyama studies mechanisms of evolutionary change at the molecular and population levels. Among the questions under study include the prediction and detection of the effects of natural selection on genomic structure. A major area of research addresses the development of maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods for inferring evolutionary processes from the pattern of molecular variation. Evolutionary processes currently under study include characterization of population structure... Full Profile »

Rytas J. Vilgalys

Professor of Biology

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Pelin Cayirlioglu Volkan

Assistant Professor of Biology

The long-term goal in the lab is to understand the developmental processes that establish the basic organizational and functional principles of the neuronal circuits in the brain. We investigate how the neuronal circuits assemble, functionally mature, remodel in developmental and evolutionary time scales. To understand these processes the Volkan lab uses the olfactory system of the genetically tractable Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism and apply molecular, developmental and systems... Full Profile »

John H. Willis

Professor of Biology

We conduct research on broad issues in evolutionary genetics, and we are currently addressing questions relating to the evolution of adaptation, reproductive isolation, breeding systems, inbreeding depression, and floral traits in natural plant populations. Please see our lab web page for more information. Full Profile »

Anne Daphne Yoder

Professor of Biology

My work integrates field inventory activities with molecular phylogenetic techniques and geospatial analysis to investigate Madagascar, an area of the world that is biologically complex, poorly understood, and urgently threatened. Madagascar has been designated as one of the most critical geographic priorities for conservation action, retaining less than 10% of the natural habitats that existed before human colonization. It is critical that information be obtained as quickly as possible to... Full Profile »