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Lab trip for ice cream

It’s been a hot few dayIMG_2238s in Pullman! With the arrival of Chris Cornelius from University of Alabama and Kyle Taylor, a starting Master’s student in the lab, we decided it was time to take a trip to Ferdinand‘s, the campus ice cream shop! The ice cream was delicious!

Molecular mechanisms of sulfide adaptation

We contributed to two papers published this week investigating the molecular mechanisms of adaptation to hydrogen sulfide (H2S) rich environments. In our paper published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A, we show heritable differences in gene expression patterns between sulfide adapted and non-adapted populations. Depending on the organ, sulfide-quinone oxidoreductase (SQR), an enzyme critical to sulfide detoxification, is either constitutively or plastically higher expressed in sulfidic populations. The other paper, published in Nature Communications, also indicated that at least some sulfidic P. mexicana populations exhibit an H2S-resistant cytochrome oxidase (COX), one of the primary targets of H2S toxicity.


Julian receives the J. Herman and Jean Kaye Swartz Memorial Scholarship

MY FACECongratulations to Julian for receiving the J. Herman and Jean Kaye Swartz Memorial Scholarship from the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU. J. Herman Swartz earned his B.S. (1938) and M.S. (1939) in bacteriology from then–WSC. Swartz received a scholarship that changed his life. He believed that any student who wants an education should get that chance—and that the rest of us should help. His wife, Jean Swartz, established this fund in 1997 in his memory. The scholarship is for students in biotechnology who intend to apply their knowledge of biological techniques to develop new products that meet the needs of humans.

NIMBioS working group

I spent the week at NIMBioS in Knoxville, TN, with a great group of colleagues. It was an interesting and exhausting week of talking about landscape genomics and generating a plan for the next two years of the working group.


As we move forward in the genomic age, we can rapidly sequence complete genomes and transcriptomes, as well as assay genomic structural features (e.g., gene copy number variants, transposable elements), of virtually any species. Advances in genomics provide new avenues for understanding the genetic basis of functionally adaptive trait variation. For example, we have made great strides in understanding adaptation to extreme environments and the genetic basis for many diseases in human populations, as well as in non-model organisms. However, scientists are awash with data, and methods to unlock the power of genome projects are still under development.

Rapid advances in our ability to obtain genomic data have also caused a paradigm shift in the way we view “genes.” Once thought to be directly related to phenotype, genes operate in complex genomic landscapes, rather than in isolation. A gene’s location and copy number within a genome may regulate its expression, as well as its interaction with other genes and noncoding RNA. The complexity of the genomic landscape is compounded by the environment in which an individual persists. Genes are expressed differently in different environments, and selection varies spatially across the ecological landscape. A major challenge, then, is to analyze data sets that integrate both the genomic landscape and the ecological landscape to understand the spatial distribution of adaptive genetic variation. This working group will address this challenge by advancing analytical and computational methods with an interdisciplinary collaboration of experts in genomics, statistics, mathematics, bioinformatics and population genetics.

New graduate students join the Kelley lab!

We are happy to announce that two new graduate students will be joining the laboratory in Fall 2014! Anthony Brown will be starting a PhD degree and Kyle Taylor will be starting a MA degree in Biological Sciences. They will be arriving in the lab late summer to get rolling on their projects. We are very happy they are joining us and we are looking forward to several exciting years of research together. Anthony received a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Davis and has been working in an immunology lab at UC Davis. Kyle graduated from Oregon State University with a B.S. in Biology and has been working in academic and industry labs since then. They will both add unique expertise to the laboratory!

See their profiles at:
LAB MEMBERS » Graduate Students

Tsetse fly genome published

The tsetse fly genome published this week in Science!

Popular news article:
I disagree that the genome is “solved” but it’s certainly much better than it was prior to this study. Is a genome ever “solved”? Given what we know about the human genome, I’d say no. I was not involved in this research, I am just excited to see an interesting insect genome published.

postdoc position available

Postdoc Position: Evolutionary Genomics at Washington State University

A postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Dr. Joanna Kelley, in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University in Pullman, WA ( The research goals of the laboratory are to use genomic and computational methods to understand the genomic basis of adaptation to extreme environments. We are interested in understanding how genetic and environmental variation interact to drive population differentiation and adaptive evolution. The School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University has a strong research presence in evolution and ecology research and there are many opportunities for interaction and collaboration. We welcome applications from candidates with diverse educational backgrounds.

Applicants will be expected to develop and lead projects. Candidates are required to have a Ph.D. in Genetics, Genomics, Computational Biology (bioinformatics, systems biology), Statistics, Computer Science, or related disciplines. A computing background is desired, especially experience with Unix, and knowledge in one or several programming languages (Perl, Python, C/C++, R/BioConductor, etc). Additional experience with high-throughput sequencing data is highly desirable. Candidates should demonstrate a strong track record of publication; have strong organizational, written, and oral communication skills; and be able to work both independently and as part of a collaborative team.

The appointment is for one year with the possibility of renewal based on satisfactory performance. Funding is available for two years. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience, and benefits are included.

Applicants should email Joanna Kelley at  and include curriculum vitae, cover letter that includes a statement of research interests that explicitly describes your professional qualifications for the position, and contact information for three references. Informal inquiries are also welcome. Start time is flexible, with a desired start in Fall 2014. Applications will be accepted through June 10th, 2014.