Research in Anders Lab

I am interested in genes, chromosomes, and genomes: how they contribute to the traits of an organism, how they are transmitted during cell division, and how they can change from generation to generation. My research makes use of the brewer’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model eukaryotic organism, and more recently I have been exploring the genetic analysis of bacterial viruses called mycobacteriophages. With regard to yeast, my students and I are working to understand how a common mistake in cell division--resulting in an extra chromosome--affects phenotype, genome stability, and ultimately, fitness. We are currently studying the effects of duplicating the small chromosome 6. We discovered that an extra copy of chromosome 6 prevents viability, and that an imbalance in tubulin expression is one significant cause. We suspect that there may be additional gene dose imbalances that interfere with other cell functions when chromosome 6 is duplicated. Our current goal is to discover and characterize the other significant dose imbalances at the molecular level. We use a variety of methods, including recombinant DNA techniques, microbial genetics, and whole-genome microarrays. With regard to bacteriophage genes, whole-genome sequencing can identify the genes present in the phage genome, but the sequence alone rarely indicates what the function of each gene is. We are employing similar recombinant DNA techniques and microbial genetics as our yeast work to discover the functions of newly-identified genes in bacteriophage genomes.