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Kelley Lab News

Sulfide spring fish transcriptomes published

IMG_8115We have been working with Michael Tobler‘s lab at Kansas State University to understand the molecular basis of adaptation to hydrogen sulfide springs. We sequenced and analyzed transcriptomes from multiple populations of sulfide spring fishes. We sampled fish in the genus Poecilia from mulitple, replicated clear and sulfidic springs. The results of the study have recently been published in Molecular Biology and Evolution! A variety of news sources have covered our findings, including Scientific American Español.

Ecological Genomics 2015

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Graduate student Anthony Brown and I attended Ecological Genomics 2015 in Manhattan, Kansas #EGSym2015. It was a fantastic conference. The organizers planned the conference very well and considered all aspects for planning a successful conference. The talks were all stellar and ranged from senior faculty to graduate students, organisms, and approaches (see the line-up here: The two poster sessions similarly highlighted diverse research. It was a pleasure to have my abstract invited for a presentation. See you next year in Kansas City, Oct 28-30th!



Joanna Kelley had the pleasure of participating in ConGen2015 “Application of Next Gen Sequence Data to Understand Genetic Population Structure and Detect Natural Selection”. The goal of the multi-day course is: “To provide training in conceptual and practical aspects of data analysis for the conservation and evolutionary genomics of natural and managed populations. Emphasis will be on next generation sequence data analysis (RADs, exon capture, and whole genome sequence analyses) and interpretation of output from recent novel statistical approaches and software programs.” Her presentation focused on RNAseq methods and potential applications to conservation.

Ryan Greenway visits the lab to learn RNAseq techniques

IMG_4256While usually found in the field, we had the pleasure of hosting Ryan Greenway from Kansas State University to learn RNAseq library preparation techniques. He spent long hours perfecting his pipetting technique and by the end of his visit he  could pipette small volumes with the multichannel pipette, while blindfolded! Oh, and 108 beautiful RNAseq libraries!

Directly from Ryan: “I visited Dr. Joanna Kelley’s lab at Washington State University for three weeks in order to learn and practice transcriptomic techniques. For part of my dissertation work, I am using an RNA sequencing approach to study the genomic underpinnings of adaptation. Specifically, I created cDNA libraries for paired populations of eight species of Poeciliid fishes inhabiting toxic sulfide springs and nearby benign freshwater streams. Following the sequencing of these libraries, I will be investigating genomic adaptations to life in sulfide springs in each of these population pairs, as well as taking a comparative approach to look for patterns of convergent evolution at the molecular level across these eight species and three additional paired populations of Poecilia mexicana, for which reference transcriptomes have already been developed. By investigating adaptation to similar habitats in a sampling of species spanning a wide phylogenetic gradient I hope to answer fundamental questions about the nature of convergent evolution, be it an optimal adaptive response to selection or rather a constraint due to evolutionary relatedness.”IMG_4258

STEM Trailblazer Bios

Lerner-KelleyLerner Publishing Group recently published biographies of STEM Trailblazers. The series highlights researchers from different fields to inspire kids in STEM. I was not a part of the writing of the book. I am excited to be included as the Genetics Expert. The entire series can be located on the Lerner website. You can take a look inside at Amazon.

Mexico 2015

11246364_10103138290038497_5423031850003100747_nIMG_8142IMG_8086 IMG_8116 IMG_813410458890_10103138289499577_3271226440169006160_nWe just returned from a very successful sampling trip in Mexico! We saw and measured a lot of fish! Anthony (PhD student) and Julian (undergraduate) both had the opportunity to join the sampling expedition to Mexico.

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 required, 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 necessary. 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. Start time is flexible, with a desired start in Fall 2015. Applications will be accepted through July 15th.