Fankhauser, Johnathon


PhD. Student: NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Department of Plant Biological Sciences

B.Sc., Microbiology, University of Minnesota

Google Scholar Citations

Current thesis work: Jan 2012

Using genomic comparisons and transcriptome analysis we have identified the
genetic changes responsible for the first step in the transition from
unicellular life to multicellular life. Our strains of yeast cluster due to
a failed apparatus for post-division adhesion and settle through liquid more
rapidly thus shifting the level of selection and fixing this critical
mutation in the population. We are excited to publish the genetics of this
important research development soon. Further genome and transcriptome
analysis suggests there are many additional changes following the initial
adaptation to clustering and I am currently working to elucidate further
genetic changes associated with the evolution of multicellularity in
Saccharomyces cerevisiae. I will soon be analyzing our genomic data for
further insights: What happens after multicellular clusters evolve on the
genomic scale? Is there a fundamental shift in genomic evolution and
adaptability? Are there changes in the interactome (protein:protein or
protein:DNA interactions) in the derived populations? I am also actively
working to determine the genetic basis for aging using divergent selection
lines that you may be interested to read about in the future so check back
for updates.

I have also previously been involved in a number of projects:

With Dr. Imke Schmitt, Dr. Daniel Ballhorn, Dr. Gerorgiana May, Dr. Adrian
Hegeman and Dr. George Weiblen
Working with the NIH-funded ICBG group in PNG we have isolated several
thousand endophytic fungi from Papua New Guinea tropical trees. We are currently using molecular methods to determine the hidden diversity of such an interesting group of fungi.

With Dr. Imke Schmitt, Dr. Adrian Hegeman, Dr. Jack Elix and Dr. H Thorsten
Chemical analysis of lichen compounds
Molecular systematics and discovery of biosynthetic genes in lichenized fungi.

© micropop 2012