Cedric Feschotte | Principal Investigator
PhD, University of Paris VI (Pierre-and-Marie-Curie), France
Ed Chuong | HHMI Postdoctoral Fellow of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund (w/ Elde lab)
PhD, 2012, Stanford University
Dissertation: "Functional genomic investigation of placenta evolution" [with Julie Baker]
Ed grew up in Southern California and received his BS in 2007 from UC San Diego where he worked with Hopi Hoekstra on rapid evolution of placenta- and testis-specific proteins in rodents. He then moved up north to do his graduate work with Julie Baker at Stanford on regulatory genomics in the placenta. His PhD culminated in the publication this year of a very exciting paper in Nature Genetics on endogenous retroviruses functioning as lineage-specific placenta enhancers. More here on that theme. Currently Ed is working on the role of endogenous retroviruses in the evolution of the immune system, in collaboration with Nels Elde. In 2014 he was awarded a HHMI-supported fellowship from the Jane Coffin Childs Fund for Memorial Research.
Aurelie Kapusta | Postdoctoral Associate
PhD: 2010, University Paris XI, France
Dissertation: "Programmed genome rearrangements in the ciliate Paramecium." [with Mireille Betermier at the CNRS-CGM Gif-sur-Yvette]
Aurelie currently works on... well, many things. This includes the evolutionary and functional relationship of transposable elements with long noncoding RNAs (see her PLOS Genet paper here) and genome evolution in bats and other mammals.
Alesia McKeown | Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD: 2015, University of Oregon, Eugene [with Joe Thornton]
Alesia was born and raised in the mountains of Western North Carolina. She completed her BS in Chemistry at UNC-Wilmington where, under the mentorship of Paulo Almeida, she studied the thermodynamic mechanisms of cytolytic peptides. Alesia started her graduate work with Joe Thornton at the University of Oregon in 2009. In this work, she applied her biochemical background to an evolutionary framework and investigated the genetic and molecular mechanisms for the evolution of DNA-specificity in the steroid receptor family of transcription factors (e.g). She is interested in questions that exist at the interface of biochemistry, biophysics and evolutionary biology; specifically, she aims to understand the molecular mechanisms by which complex biological systems evolved to their modern forms and functions. Alesia is co-mentored by Nels Elde and hopes to use viral-host interactions as a model to investigate the dynamic effects of genetic conflict on the evolution of protein function and genomic architecture.
John McCormick | Ph.D Student
John grew up in Arlington, Texas where he received his B.S. in Biology in 2010. This is also where he first got exposed to research as a volunteer in the lab working on transposase-derived genes (already). John then joined Skip Garner's lab at UT Southwestern and then at Virginia Tech. John worked on a lot of different projects in Skip's lab involving microsatellite repeats in evolution and disease. He has already co-authored 6 publications from this rich research experience.
To our excitement, John decided to return to the lab in Spring 2013 as a first year MB PhD student at Utah. During his rotation, John used TALEN technology in fish to produce knock out mutations in two transposon-derived genes highly conserved in vertebrate but with yet unknown function. He is currently analyzing the phenotypic and molecular consequences of these mutations in order to shed light on the function of these genes. John has also initiated a functional analysis of the impact of endogenous DNA transposition in zebrafish. Busy man!
Xiaoyu Zhuo | Ph.D Student
Xiaoyu grew up in Southern China and obtained his B.S. and M.S from Wuhan University. There he studied RNA splicing under the mentorship of Dr. Yi Zhang and Dr. Xiang-Dong Fu. He then worked for a pharmaceutical company for 3 years in the field of drug discovery.
Xiaoyu's current research focuses on endogenous retroviruses and their genomic impact.
In 2014, Xiaoyu was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship from the University of Utah.