John H. Willis

Professor of Biology

3314 French Science Center, Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Department of Biology, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 660-7340
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.


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1991

Selby, Jessica P., and John H. Willis. “Major QTL controls adaptation to serpentine soils in Mimulus guttatus..” Molecular Ecology 27, no. 24 (December 18, 2018): 5073–87. Full Text

Troth, Ashley, Joshua R. Puzey, Rebecca S. Kim, John H. Willis, and John K. Kelly. “Selective trade-offs maintain alleles underpinning complex trait variation in plants..” Science (New York, N.Y.) 361, no. 6401 (August 2018): 475–78. Full Text

Ferris, Kathleen G., and John H. Willis. “Differential adaptation to a harsh granite outcrop habitat between sympatric Mimulus species..” Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution 72, no. 6 (June 2018): 1225–41. Full Text

Barnett, Laryssa L., Ashley Troth, and John H. Willis. “Plastic breeding system response to day length in the California wildflower Mimulus douglasii..” American Journal of Botany 105, no. 4 (April 25, 2018): 779–87. Full Text

Aeschbacher, Simon, Jessica P. Selby, John H. Willis, and Graham Coop. “Population-genomic inference of the strength and timing of selection against gene flow..” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114, no. 27 (July 2017): 7061–66. Full Text

Greenham, Kathleen, Ping Lou, Joshua R. Puzey, Ganesh Kumar, Cindy Arnevik, Hany Farid, John H. Willis, and C Robertson McClung. “Geographic Variation of Plant Circadian Clock Function in Natural and Agricultural Settings..” Journal of Biological Rhythms 32, no. 1 (February 2017): 26–34. Full Text

Fierst, J. L., D. A. Murdock, C. Thanthiriwatte, J. H. Willis, and P. C. Phillips. “Metagenomeassembled draft genome sequence of a novel microbial Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strain isolated from Caenorhabditis remanei tissue.” Genome Announcements 5, no. 7 (January 1, 2017). Full Text

Ferris, Kathleen G., Laryssa L. Barnett, Benjamin K. Blackman, and John H. Willis. “The genetic architecture of local adaptation and reproductive isolation in sympatry within the Mimulus guttatus species complex..” Molecular Ecology 26, no. 1 (January 2017): 208–24. Full Text


Selected Grants

Collaborative Research: RoL: Rapid Evolution of Reproductive Isolation via Hybrid Seed Lethality in Mimulus awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2023

Genetics Training Grant awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1979 to 2020

Collaborative Research: Hybrid Seed Inviability and the Evolution of Endosperm Development in Mimulus awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Collaborative Proposal: The ecological genomic basis of parallel serpentine adaptation in Mimulus awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Genetic Basis of Population Divergence in the Threshold of Environmental Induction of a Floral Po awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Shedding Light on the Complex Relationship Between Circadian Clock Variation and the Trade-off Be awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2017

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Genetic Basis and Adaptive Significance of Key Developmental Traits Underlying awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017

A Genomic Analysis of Complex Trait Variation in Mimulus awarded by University of Kansas (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2016

LiT: Genomic Analysis of Life-history Adaptation awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2014