Applications are welcome. Please contact us for more information.
The research of the Kusumi Lab is focused on studying the evolution and function of genes that control regeneration and development in vertebrates.
Project 1: Genomic Approaches to Vertebrate Regeneration. Many vertebrates such as fish, amphibians, and lizards display the ability to regenerate appendages, but in mammals, this ability is lost soon after birth. Our research focuses on identifying the genes that are required for regeneration in two model vertebrate systems: the green anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis, and tadpoles of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. In both these organisms, they are able to regenerate musculoskeletal and spinal cord tissues to form a new tail after tail loss. Genome sequences of both the green anole and Xenopus laevis have been published, and using next-generation transcriptomic sequencing, we have already identified a unique set of genes involved in regeneration in the lizard. Scholarly Project students will learn and apply bioinformatic techniques, including use of R-based statistical tools, UNIX/Linux-based sequence analysis tools, and Python or PERL scripting languages to analyze these regeneration data. Students who have previous experience in gene expression techniques, particularly quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistological analysis, may also participate in gene expression studies.
Project 2: Evolutionary Genomics and Comparative Morphology. Animal species display a tremendous diversity in morphological size, shape, and structure that arises from evolutionary changes in the coding and regulatory sequences in the genome. Next-generation genomic and bioinformatic technologies now permit us to identify the genetic changes that drive this diversity. We are applying next-gen approaches to studying lizards in the Anolis genus, which have been called the “Darwin’s finches” of the reptiles due to the incredible morphological and behavioral diversity. We are generating genomic and transcriptomic sequences from four species, to identify the coding and regulatory changes that account for the morphological diversity. Students will learn and apply bioinformatic techniques, including use of R-based statistical tools, UNIX/Linux-based sequence analysis tools, and Python or PERL scripting languages to carry out evolutionary analysis of these genomes. Students who have previous experience with gene expression techniques, particularly quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, could
At least a one-year commitment (at 12 hours/week or greater) is required to receive the necessary training to work on these projects. Please contact Dr. Kusumi with any questions.