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Kelley Lab Uncategorized

A honey of a study! Blair and Michael’s work featured in HealthDay News.

Blair Perry was interviewed by HealthDay News to discuss his research on bear hibernation, insulin resistance, and its impacts for humans dealing with type 2 diabetes. Blair and Michael Saxton’s full study, “Serum plays an important role in reprogramming the seasonal transcriptional profile of brown bear adipocytes” was recently published in iScience. Congrats to Blair and Michael!

Other related news on the article:


PC: Bob Hubner, Washington State University.

Ellie presents her work on tigers at Dovetail’s Conservation Genomics Summit!

Ellie Armstrong presented her talk entitled “The genomics of the United States’ captive tiger population” as part of Dovetail Genomics and Revive & Restore’s Conservation Genomics Summit 2021. There, she discussed how an improved tiger reference genome she assembled using Dovetail’s technologies allowed for better population genomic insights concerning the ancestry and diversity of tigers in the US. Great job, Ellie!


Alex Fraik defends her PhD thesis!

On April 19th, Alex successfully defended her dissertation entitled “How does genomic variation underlying locally adapted populations shift following a rapid environmental change?”. Congratulations, Dr. Fraik! Alex is hoping to continue working on Steelhead genetics in a postdoctoral position.

Kerry McGowan receives the Vern Parish Award

Ph.D. candidate Kerry McGowan is the 2020 recipient of the Vern Parish Award. The award was established in memory of Vern Parish, an important member of the American Livebearer Association. She will use the funding to continue her research on extremophile poecilids in southern Mexico. 

Alex Fraik publishes a Tasmanian devil transcriptomics paper in Genes!

In an era of unprecedented global change, exploring patterns of gene expression among wild populations across their geographic range is crucial for characterizing adaptive potential. However, few of these studies have identified transcriptomic signatures to multivariate, environmental stimuli among populations in their natural environments. In this study, Fraik et al. identified environmental and sex-driven patterns of gene expression in the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), a critically endangered species that occupies a heterogeneous environment. No transcriptome-wide patterns of differential gene expression were detected, consistent with previous studies that documented low levels of genetic variation in the species. However, genes previously implicated in local adaptation (Fraik et al. 2019, Biorxiv) to abiotic environment in devils were enriched for differentially expressed genes. Additionally, modules of co-expressed genes were significantly associated with both geographic location and sex. This study revealed that candidate-gene approaches to transcriptomic studies of naturally sampled wildlife populations may be necessary to capture gene expression changes in response to complex multivariate environments.

Fraik, A.K.Quackenbush, C., Margres, M.J., Comte, S., Hamilton, D.G., Kozakiewicz, C.P., Jones, M., Hamede, R., Hohenlohe, P.A., Storfer, A., Kelley, J.L. Transcriptomics of tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) ear tissue reveals homogeneous gene expression patterns across a heterogeneous landscape. Genes 201910, 801. *Corresponding author

Luana is going to Antarctica!

We are all very excited that Luana Lins, a postdoctoral researcher in our lab, has been selected to be part the NSF Advanced Training Program in Antarctica for Early Career Scientists (

She will spend a month in Antarctica as part of the program where researchers will get involved in research projects and will be more knowledgeable of the logistics of conducting studies in this unique environment. Luana Lins is following on the footsteps of our PI Joanna Kelley who participated in the same program in 2008, and her PI Willie Swanson who participated several years before that.

Our lab is very interested in adaptations to extreme environments and Luana is working in a project focused on the adaptations of fish to polar environments, Luana’s training will be great to the development of our polar adaptations project. She will be posting about her preparations and experiences in Antarctica at her blog (

Here’s a nice write-up from WSU (

Scott Hotaling joins the lab

Scott Hotaling has arrived in Pullman! We are very happy Scott has decided to join the lab as a postdoctoral researcher. He has already started wading through the vast amounts of data we have been hoarding in the lab and making great progress!


We’re going to Evolution 2017!

The lab (and many labs from WSU) are going to Evolution 2017! See you there? If you’re interested in finding out more about our research we have several talks and posters. You can find us at the following:

Name Day Time Session name Room
Laura Helou (poster) Saturday 6:30-8:30 PM Bioinformatics EHA-04
Shawn Trojahn (poster) Saturday 6:30-8:30 PM Phylogenomics EHA-31
Anthony Brown Sunday 8:45 AM Inbreeding / conservation biology B114-115
Enrique J-S Sunday 3:30 PM Sex / recombination 3 Ball204
Alex Fraik Sunday 3:45 PM Adaptation / genomics 4 B117-119
Omar Cornejo Sunday 4:00 PM Disease A106
Carlie Harding (poster) Sunday 6:30-8:30 PM Genomics EHA-14
Luana Lins Monday 10:30 AM Molecular ecology / genomics C124
Joel Nelson Monday 11:00 AM Molecular ecology / genomics C124
Joanna Kelley Monday 3:15 PM SSE Symposium – The impact of stress on genetic variation 2 Ball203

Note, I have added links to YouTube videos from the Evolution Meeting channel for the talks that were recorded, just click on the presenter’s name.

Poeciliid 2017

Just returned from Poeciliid 2017 in Norman, OK. It was a fantastic meeting! The organizers Ingo Schlupp and Edie Marsh-Matthews did a fantastic job planning the meeting. The meeting was small and intimate, with only one session at a time, which was the perfect opportunity to connect with other poeciliid biologists. The topics were varied and ranged from genomics to behavior to phylogenetics to nutrient transfer. The participants ranged from new graduate students to senior faculty members, which made for a great mix of experiences, ideas and knowledge. There was ample time for sharing ideas and, at least for me, it was one of the best meetings I have attended in a while! I will definitely attended the next meeting (likely 2019) and I encourage everyone who is tangentially involved in poeciliid research to attend too!