Dr. Rachel Brem
Buck Institute
"Genetic dissection of trait differences between long-diverged species"

Longevity, susceptibility to age-associated diseases, and many other attributes relevant for aging vary from one person to another. These differences are due in part to DNA sequence variants somewhere in our genomes—though exactly where is still a mystery in most cases. Worms, flies, and single-celled microbes can serve as powerful models for the study of the principles of genetic variation. Research in the Brem lab uses these model organisms to discover genetic changes that impact aging behaviors and other traits, as well as their evolutionary histories.


Dr. Hernan Garcia
UC Berkeley
"How, when and where in pattern formation: Spying on embryonic development one molecule at a time"

In development a single cell goes through a series of repeated divisions and these cells read the program encoded in their DNA in order to become familiar cell types such as those found in muscle, liver or our brains. The goal of our lab is to uncover the rules behind these decisions with the objective of predicting and manipulating developmental programs from just looking at DNA sequence. In order to reach this predictive understanding we combine physics, synthetic biology and new technologies to query and control developmental decisions in real time at the single cell level in the fruit fly embryo.


Dr. Justin Meyer
UC San Diego
"Evolution of A Key Innovation and Speciation of Bacteriophage Lambda"

We study the experimental evolution of viruses. Our leading system is Bacteriophage λ, which infects Escherichia coli, however we also study other microbial species. The two-part question that drives the majority of our research is: What mutations cause viruses to gain new functions, such as infecting novel host species. And, what ecological and epidemiological processes promote their evolution.


Dr. Rob Phillips
Cal Tech
“How Schrodinger’s Cat Became a Cat”

We are interested in the physical origins of biological function and combine physical models with quantitative experimentation on problems ranging from transcriptional regulation to mechanosensation.


Dr. Michael Springer
Harvard University
"Physiological, mutational, and evolutionary landscape of the GAL pathway"

While we have a great mechanistic understanding of how the information encoded in DNA is converted through mRNA to protein, we have a limited understanding of the quantitative relationship between genotype and phenotype. We do not know whether properties such as protein abundance are under strong selective constraints and therefore it is difficult to interpret the myriad of changes that are evident between related individuals and species. Using a combination of theoretical, genomic, and proteomic approaches we are exploring in both a high throughput and direct fashion how evolution has changed (comparative evolution), could have changed (synthetic evolution), and does changes (experimental evolution) quantitative features of networks in multiple yeast species under different selective regimes.


Dr. Stephen Tapscott
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
"MyoD and the Circuitry of a Master Switch"

The Tapscott lab focuses on gene transcription in a chromatin context in normal development and disease. The lab uses the myogenic transcription factor MyoD to study how complex programs of gene expression unfold during cell differentiation. In addition, the lab studies gene expression in rhabdomysarcomas (cancers with characteristics of skeletal muscle) and human muscular dystrophies. Other areas of research in the lab include the formation of palindromes in the human cancer genome, gene and cell therapies for muscular dystrophy, and the biology of triplet repeats and their associated diseases.


Dr. Natassia Vieira 
University of São Paulo, Brazil and Harvard / Boston Children's Hospital
"Searching for novel genetic modifiers in dogs that escape the Muscular Dystrophy phenotype"