Room 5108 Life Sciences Building
Room 5105 Life Sciences Building
In the age of genomics, an enormous challenge to the field is predicting phenotypes from genotypes. We combine classical genetics and molecular biology with bioinformatics approaches such as genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics to assess how organisms respond to constantly changing environmental stresses. Yeast have evolved biochemical pathways including multiple drug resistance (MDR) to tolerate a broad class of toxic chemicals. However, there is considerable variation in growth inhibition across genetically distinct yeast strains in response to different chemicals. This leads to our guiding question: across genetically distinct individuals, what kind of genetic variation matters the most in predicting phenotypes?
Variation across genomes is expected but variation in key proteins are potent modulators of genetic diversity in response to environmental stresses. Transcription factors have more notable impact on phenotypes since they can regulate multiple genes thus have multiple and/or cumulative effects. These proteins are called master variators. To uncover master variators we have several ongoing projects.
Using genome-wide analysis studies we have uncovered variation in Yrr1, a transcription factor that redirects cellular pathways in response to DNA damaging drug 4NQO (4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide). We have focused on potential hypervariable phosphorylation sites that regulate the function of Yrr1 in yeast.
We have used transcriptomic analysis to predict the effect of 4MCHM, a chemical spilled in Elk River in January 2014, on yeast. This understudied chemical affects several pathways and we have uncovered treatments that alleviate growth inhibition by this chemical. We are also addressing the possible effect on development in a model organism Xenopus.
We have used comparative phenotypic analysis of Roundup resistant yeast to propose the existence of alternative metabolic pathways resistant to chemical inhibition. Roundup is an herbicide widely used in agriculture targets aromatic amino acid biosynthesis. Roundup resistance is a recent trait and future research will explore how yeast adapt and if the trait can spread through wild populations.
To understand how copper nanoparticles affect microbes we are mapping regions of the genome that regulate response to toxic levels of copper. Copper is a micronutrient that is both essential and highly toxic to humans. Dysregulation of copper levels is important in progression of several neurological diseases.
In each case we have utilized the different methods to address the underlying genetic cause of phenotypic variation in model organisms.
Yeast Genome Paper is out. Song et al., 2015
- January 2015
The lab keeps growing with the additions of Justin and Scotia.
- December 2014
Julia successfully defends her undergraduate thesis.
- November 2014
The Roundup grant goes into to the NSF. Thanks to the whole lab for reading multiple versions.
- October 2014
Jen goes up the road to CMU for a talk and hosted by Joel McManus
- September 2014
Jen goes across the pond to University College of Dublin for a talk and hosted by Dr. Ken Wolfe
- August 2014
Welcome Apoorva and Michael to the lab as the first grad students. Also Emily came on board after she returned from China. While Zach moves to Vanderbilt University as a grad student.
- July 2014
Julia, Xiaoqing and Jen went to the Yeast Meeting in Seattle. That was a blast and I think the next meeting will be huge.
- May 2014
Amna defends her undergraduate thesis and goes on to medical school at WVU.
- April 2014
Yeah! the Yrr1 paper came out in Genes & Development. You can read it here
Gallagher et al., 2014
- March 2014
The interest in crude MCHM is impressive. Listen to an interview about it.
It was fast but impressive. Mike Snyder from Stanford came for a visit and amazed everybody with “the now” of personalized medicine.
- February 2014
Check out the Huffington Post mentioned work we are doing on 4MCHM.
- January 2014
Congrats to Xiaoqing on having her first paper in from lab accepted.
- October 2013
Amna has been selected by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium to be designated a NASA Space Grant Scholar for the academic year 2013-14.
- August 2013
Welcome Xiaoqing and Kirsten to the lab
- July 2013
Congrats to Zach for winning first prize at WVU Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium
- June 2013
Lab field trip to the Pittsburgh Area Yeast Meeting
- May 2013
Welcome Cassie, Amna and Zach. The first members of the Gallagher lab.
- February 2013
lab is getting ready to open
- January 2013
Jen arrives at snowy West Virginia from Stanford