The Lab in Brief
Research interests: My lab's research is on identifying the DNA changes underlying human and non-human primate biological adaptations. In the process of identifying these changes, we seek to reveal basic developmental and genetic mechanisms governing biological trait formation and inheritance as well as their influence on disease risk. In the lab, we use a variety of tools spanning developmental biology, genetics, genomics, comparative biology, and primate/human evolution. Currently, we are focusing on two specific areas: 1) the discovery of the genetic alterations that determine the unique human post-cranial skeleton; and 2) the elucidation of the genetic and developmental architecture underlying the diversity of joint types in primates.
The Laboratory and Nearby Resources:
We have a new state-of-the-art lab located in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, which includes ~8-10 workstations for technicians, undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and visiting scholars. Our space also contains separate rooms for Biohazard Level II cell culture, microscopy, bacterial incubation and centrifugation, gel imaging, and lab kitchen work. Each room contains the necessary molecular, cell, developmental, genetics, and imaging equipment for a fully functioning laboratory. My office is down the hall in the HEB department, which has numerous teaching classrooms, libraries, and conference rooms. More broadly, we have access to facilities within the Biolabs building next door. These facilities include: The Bauer Core, which owns multiple real-time PCR machines, bioanalyzers, luminometers, fluorometers, DNA sequencers, among a variety of other equipment; The Harvard Center for Biological Imaging, which contains cutting-edge Carl Zeiss microscopes; The Genome Modification Facility, with the ability to perform the DNA micro-injection and gene targeting techniques we use in the lab; and the VWR stock room providing immediate access to laboratory supplies. For our bioinformatics studies, we have computational support in Resource Computing, possessing 55,000 processors and >12PB of shared storage, one of the largest clusters in the Boston area. This center is integrated with the Bauer Core for effective processing of experimental data. We also have two mouse rooms located in the Harvard BRI facility adjacent to the Peabody, which is a modern animal facility for clean "pathogen-free" work.
We are an NIH funded laboratory: NIH NIAMS R01 (R01AR070139): Uncovering the Genetic Mechanisms Behind Joint-Specific Osteoarthritis; Additional Funding from Harvard Dean's Competitive Award, Milton Fund; Prior Funding from NSF Anthropolology