Summer 2014:
Student Alex Murphy has won an Undergraduate Travel Award from the Genetics Society of America to present her research at the Yeast Genetics Meeting in Seattle. She is one of eight students from across the country to win the award. See the GSA announcement.

Summer 2011:
The first phage genome isolated and annotated by Gonzaga students has been submitted to GenBank. See it here, and see a picture of it here.

Fall 2010:
We have begun bacteriophage genomics in the Phage Research Course, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Science Education Alliance. Read more here.

Summer 2010:
Students Isaac Strong and Kirstie Keller are featured in the Gonzaga viewbook for recruiting new students. [PDF][Flash]

Summer 2009:
We have published the results of our hard work devising a new method for duplicating any chromosome of choice in yeast. Read all about it here.

More info:

Why yeast?


Research Interests

The long-term goal of our research is to exploit budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a model system for studying the mechanisms of genomic change during adaptive evolution (see "Why yeast?"). Genomes can change when a chromosome is gained or lost, resulting in aneuploidy. Aneuploid yeast strains are readily found in the laboratory (often by accident), presumably because they provide some growth advantage in a deleterious genetic background (1). However, long-term continuous cultures of nominally wild-type strains, in industry and in the lab, can also lead to the appearance of aneuploidy and chromosome rearrangements (eg, refs 2 and 3). Despite the widespread existence of aneuploidies, there is little basic information about the phenotypic effect of an extra chromosome in a wild-type genetic background, and how (or if) the aneuploidy contributes to increased fitness in long-term cultures. Are aneuploidies phenotypically neutral events in yeast? Are they deleterious? How do the gene dosage imbalances of each particular chromosome affect the phenotype? Answers to these basic questions should provide a foundation for the study and interpretation of aneuploidies arising in long-term experimental evolution cultures. In order to answer these basic questions, aneuploid strains need to be constructed in a controlled genetic background.

We wish to establish a system for studying the effects of a chromosome non-disjunction in yeast. The set of strains we construct will provide opportunities for new discovery. We will use it to ask this initial question: do the unbalanced gene dosages of N+1 aneuploids cause measurable, deleterious phenotypes in yeast?

1. Hughes, T. R., Roberts, C. J., Dai, H., Jones, A.R., Meyer, M. R., Slade, D., Burchard, J., Dow, S.,Ward, T. R., Kidd, M. J., et al. (2000) Nat.Genet.25, 333-337.
2. Dunham, M. J., Badrane, H., Ferea, T., Adams, J., Brown, P. O., Rosenzweig, F. & Botstein, D. (2002) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 99,16144-16149.
3. Bakalinsky, A. T. & Snow R. (1990) Yeast 6,367-382.


Murdock College Research Program for Life Sciences, 2004-2006. M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Murdock College Research Program for Life Sciences, 2007-2009. M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Robert and Claire McDonald Work Award Program

Gonzaga Science Research Program

Howard Hughes Medical Institute