Andy Shedlock, Principal Investigator
The Shedlock Lab promotes integration of field biology with experimental advances in molecular medicine and genomics to test hypotheses about organismal genotype-phenotype relationships and to address complex applied problems in the environmental sciences. Recent areas of research include: 1) the evolutionary dynamics of mobile DNA and its role in shaping eukaryotic genome architecture; 2) the use of interspersed genomic repeats as powerful biomarkers; and 3) the conservation genetics and geographic structure of legally protected and ecologicially important wild populations. Our taxonomic focus is comparative vertebrate biology, especially globally distributed marine species and incorporation of fossil data. New projects employ de novo genome mapping and molecular evolutionary analysis of global repeat content in all major clades of amniotes. Reference genome assemblies are used to guide parallel cDNA and bisulfite methylation sequencing efforts to investigate tissue- and condition-specific differential gene expression and vertebrate transcriptome evolution. These projects target locus-specific importance of mobile elements as agents of new gene function and novel regulatory pathways in the genomic neighborhoods of marine tetrapods. They also provide insight into the systems biology of ecological communities being impacted by human activities and promote a more predictive vs. reactive approach to environmental management upon which we ultimately depend for our sustained public health.
Name: Jennifer Newby
Year: Second year Graduate student
Focus: Master’s in Marine Biology
School: College of Charleston
Undergraduate studies: Truman State University
Undergraduate degrees: Biology, minor in Environmental Studies and French
Hometown: Ballwin, MO
Hobbies: Lacrosse, Running, Skiing, Surfing, Hiking/ Backpacking, Dancing,
Traveling, Reading, Field work :)
Thesis Research: Studying the population genetics and social structure of Spotted
eagle rays (Aetobatus narinari) off the coast of Sarasota, FL.
Background: While spending my undergraduate years pursuing a major in Biology,
I used my summers to explore field biology positions including a whale research
internship in British Columbia and a dolphin photo-id position at Mote Marine
Laboratory. My desire to pursue marine biology led to my move to Charleston, SC
where I am now pursuing my Master’s degree on a Genomics Fellowship. More
specifically, I am studying the genetic structure of A. narinari using microsatellite
loci to estimate effective population size, potential sex-biased dispersal and
relatedness among captured A. narinari. I also work part-time for Coastal
Expeditions as a naturalist/ kayak guide sharing my love of coastal ecosystems and
their inhabitants with a broader audience.
Name: Melissa Strickland
Year: Second year graduate student
Focus: Master's in Environmental Studies
School: College of Charleston
Undergraduate studies: College of Charleston
Undergraduate degree: Biology
Hometown: Aiken, SC
Hobbies: Yoga, Sailing, Nature photography, Reading, Dancing, Swimming, Exploring the outdoors
Thesis Research: Predictive modeling of the effect of changes in habitat composition and land use on the biology of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).
Background: After spending my time as an undergraduate working on a variety of research projects studying the ecology of reptiles and insects, I was impressed enough with CofC and its faculty to stick around and join the MES program. The flexibility of MES allows me to apply GIS and other computational tools to questions integrating genomics and ecology. I've also been able to expand my GIS skill set working on projects for the Nature Conservancy and NOAA's Habitat Conservation Division. After graduation, I hope to go on to work as an environmental modeler on projects that will inform conservation and management practices.