Welcome to the Kusumi Lab web site. We use genomic approaches to address questions about vertebrate evolution with direct impact on biomedical and conservation challenges. Projects in the lab include:
We are studying the ability of the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) to regrow appendages and complex tissues including the spinal cord, peripheral nervous system, cartilage, blood vessels, and entire muscle groups. We are working to identify conserved genes and pathways involved in this remarkable regenerative process, with the ultimate goal of reactivating these processes in humans for medical therapies.
We are working to identify the genetic changes that are responsible for morphological adaptations. We have sequenced the genomes of morphologically divergent anole lizards (Anolis apletophallus, A. frenatus, A. auratus) and found evidence for accelerated evolution in genes involved in limb development. In addition, we are studying how interplay between genes and environment contribute to disorders such as scoliosis in humans.
We have used next-generation technologies to decipher the genome of the Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), a hallmark species of the desert southwest that is threatened with habitat loss and disease. This recent work is described in the video below.