Five people standing in front of shelvingVice President for Research Chris Keane, along with Mike Kluzik, director of the Office of Research Assurances, recently toured the Kelley and Cornejo laboratories in the School of Biological Sciences.

Research in the Kelley Laboratory focuses on evolutionary genomics and adaptation to extreme environments. The lab is interested in understanding how populations diverge and adapt to the environments they encounter. To identify and characterize specific genes and pathways that underlie adaptive change, researchers combine statistical and genomic approaches with knowledge from organismal and ecological studies. The researchers’ work utilizes a range of technological and analytical methods for genomics. They also climb Mexican volcanoes and explore Caribbean Islands for exotic species that are specially adapted to their extreme environments. By correlating genetic changes to phenotypic outcomes using population genomics, researchers hope to link genomic changes to sources of selection.

The research in the Cornejo Laboratory focuses on understanding how pathogens and hosts have adapted to each other. Using a multidisciplinary approach that combines computational biology, population genetic and genomic analyses, phylogenetics, simple mathematical modeling, and wet lab experiments, scientists are developing a better understanding of the forces shaping the genetic architecture of organisms. The lab uses genomic data to infer the historical demographics of populations and uses those demographics to better understand how selection has shaped specific regions of the genome to contribute to species adaptations. Their work will help inform future strategies for the management of populations and species of interest.

Top photo: Left to right, Chris Keane, Mike Kluzik, and Levi O’Loughlin meet with Joanna Kelley and Omar Cornejo.

Originally posted by Office of Research.