Twenty-three students and one faculty member are co-authors of a forthcoming manuscript in the journal G3.
More than 20 Wesleyan students — including three former first-years — are co-authors of a research manuscript accepted for publication in a prestigious biology research journal. The paper focuses on a species of fruit fly that has evolved, and has the ability to ingest a toxic plant.
The paper, which is forthcoming in G3: Genes | Genomes | Genetics, is the result of a study completed by BIOL310 Genomics Analysis students. Course instructor and co-author Joseph Coolon, assistant professor of biology, created BIOL310 to provide students a course-based research experience focused on measuring gene expression.
“Because the students in the course and in my lab collaborated on all the analysis, interpretation, and wrote the paper, all 23 students are co-authors of the published manuscript,” Coolon said. “G3 is a well-known and highly reputable journal for publishing in my field and I am honored to have been able to publish there, especially given the number of undergraduates that are now published authors in such a great journal.”
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This fall, Assistant Professor of Biology Joe Coolon is teaching Principles of Biology (MB&B181) and Cell and Development Journal Club (BIOL505). (Photo by Olivia Drake)
This fall, Wesleyan welcomes Assistant Professor Joseph Coolon to the Department of Biology.
Coolon comes to Wesleyan from the University of Michigan where he worked as an assistant research scientist and a postdoctoral fellow for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Coolon has a BS in biology and PhD in biology from Kansas State University. His dissertation was titled “Ecological Genomics of Nematode Responses to Different Bacteria.”
At Wesleyan, Coolon plans to have two primary research projects. The first project is aimed at understanding the major sources of variation in gene expression including changes in DNA sequence, responses to the environment, and epigenetic effects of previous generations’ experiences.
This project takes advantage of new technological advances in high throughput sequencing and custom computational tools developed in his lab to measure genome-wide gene expression.
The second project focuses on a largely unmet challenge in genomics, determining the functional consequences of a changes in gene expression. To do this, he uses the fruit fly Drosophila sechellia, which has evolved to eat only a single fruit that produces toxic compounds capable of killing most insects. Through an evolved change in gene expression identified by his group, this species has become resistant to the primary toxin of the plant. This project will functionally characterize how this adaptation works mechanistically.
“I am excited to bring new genomics research to Wesleyan,” he said.
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