Department of Biology
Genetics, Cell, and Developmental Biology

The Department has several faculty members whose research interests are the fields of Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology. Specific Faculty research interests include the maintenance and repair of the genetic material (Crouse, Spell), the regulation of gene expression (Corces, Jones, Kelly, Lucchesi, Taylor), evolutionary and population biology genetics (Gerardo, Levin, Real, Schlenke, Tao, Yokoyama) and the genetic and biochemical pathways involved in the development of vertebrate and invertebrate organisms (Kelly, Fritz, L'Hernault, Lynn, Shepherd, Siegler, Yedvobnick). A wide variety of genetic model organisms are used by faculty working in these areas including yeast (S. cervisiae); fruit fly (D. melanogaster); nematode (C. elegans) and zebrafish (Danio rerio).

Faculty working in this area of research:

Faculty Quick Description
Anita Corbett
Rollins 1021
Research in our laboratory primarily focuses on determining the function of evolutionarily-conserved RNA binding proteins. These RNA binding proteins play critical roles at many steps in gene expression. Interestingly, mutations in genes that encode ubiquitously expressed RNA binding proteins often lead to tissue-specific diseases. View Profile.
Victor Corces
Rollins 1071B
The goal of our research is to understand epigenetic mechanisms controlling the expression of eukaryotic genes. The main focus of our lab is the study of the organization of the chromatin fiber within the eukaryotic nucleus and the mechanisms controlling this organization. We are also interested in the role of the primary structure of the chromatin fiber, as determined by histone tail modification, in the regulation of transcription. View Profile.
Gray Crouse
Rollins 1009
We study processes that cause DNA damage and mutation in the cell, and processes that repair the damage before it can cause mutations. Our particular interest is in oxidative damage and we use that most perfect of model organisms, yeast. View Profile.
Roger Deal
Rollins 2017
Our research is driven by a desire to understand the fundamental mechanisms of chromatin-based gene regulation. We strive to elucidate how these mechanisms are used to shape the gene expression profiles of individual cell types during cell differentiation and organ formation. View Profile.
Andreas Fritz
Rollins 1119
The highly reproducible development of complex organisms from a single cell is one of the most amazing biological processes. We use the zebrafish model system to investigate the genetic and molecular requirements underlying embryonic patterning and development. View Profile.
Nicole Gerardo
Rollins 1111
Our lab is interested in how host and microbial traits shape the evolution of both beneficial and harmful associations. We are particularly interested in how host immune responses differ upon introduction of beneficial versus harmful microbes, and how the presence of protective microbes alters host investment in immunity. We utilize insect microbe associations amenable to experimental manipulation. View Profile.
Meleah Hickman
Rollins 1027
The Hickman lab investigates the strategies yeast species employ to generate genetic and phenotypic variation that facilitate environmental adaptation. We primarily focus on the genomic plasticity of Candida albicans, the leading fungal pathogen of humans and its ability to rapidly acquire resistance to antifungal drugs. View Profile.
George H. Jones, Emeritus
Rollins 2001
Dr. Jones retired in 2013.
We are interested in the biochemistry and evolution of RNA degradation pathways in bacteria and the relationship of RNA degradation to antibiotic biosynthesis in Streptomyces . We are particulary interested in RNA polyadenylation in various bacterial species and in the role of double strand specific endoribonucleases in regulating antibiotic production. We utilize biochemical, genetic, and bioinformatic approaches to study these systems. View Profile.
William Kelly
Rollins 2029
We study highly conserved and presumably ancient mechanisms that operate in the germ line to protect and maintain the integrity of the genome across generations. We have identified several of these mechanisms and study them using the nematode C. elegans as a model system. View Profile.
Steven L'Hernault, Chairman
Rollins 2001C
We study how the vesicular trafficking pathway in developing sperm alters the cell surface to allow it to interact with the egg surface. Our studies are done in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans using genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques. View Profile.
Bruce Levin
Rollins 1109
We do theoretical and empirical studies of the population biology and evolution of bacteria and their accessory genetic elements and the population dynamics, evolution, and control of infectious disease. View Profile.
John Lucchesi, Emeritus
Rollins 1011
Dr. Lucchesi retired in 2015.
Chromatin is the complex of DNA and protein that makes up chromosomes. We study the chemical and structural changes that occur in chromatin in order to initiate and maintain gene expression. View Profile.
David Lynn
Emerson Hall E409
My research interests include chemical biology, self-assembly, and signal transduction in cellular development and pathogenesis, conformation and molecular evolution, nanostructural synthesis and self-assembly, molecular skeletons for storing and reading information, and the origins of life. View Profile.
Levi Morran
Rollins 1029
We study sex and coevolution. We want to know why sex is so common in nature and how interactions between species alter the course of evolution. View Profile.
Leslie Real
Rollins 1001A
Interaction of genetic structure of populations and the ecological dynamics of infectious diseases; molecular evolution in rabies viruses. View Profile.
Iain Shepherd
Rollins 1131
My lab studies the genetic basis of the development of the enteric nervous system (ENS) - the nervous system of the intestine. We use genetic, cell biological, and embryological experimental techniques in our studies. These studies are clinically important. Hirschsprung's disease is a pediatric ENS condition that affects 1 in 5000 live births, the cause of which is only partly understood. View Profile.
Melody Siegler, Emeritus
Our research concerns the developmental events that give rise to the mature nervous system, specifically the interplay of lineage and extrinsic influences in the formation of neural circuits. View Profile.
Rachelle Spell
Rollins 2015
I work with undergraduates to study genes in yeast important for genome stability. Specifically, my research examines the regulatory mechanisms that suppress inappropriate recombination in yeast and that prevent cancer and premature aging in humans. View Profile.
Barry Yedvobnick
Rollins 2025
Notch is a major signaling pathway within metazoa that has been implicated in an array of developmental and disease mechanisms. Using genetic and molecular methods, our lab has been screening for novel loci that contribute to Notch signaling. View Profile.
Shozo Yokoyama
Rollins 2101
We study the molecular genetics and adaptive evolution of color and dim-light vision in various vertebrate species. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of these adaptive events, we use methods of molecular/cell biology, protein modeling, quantum chemistry, psychophysics, and molecular evolution. View Profile.

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