The major focus of our lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity - the ability of a single genotype to produce multiple phenotypes.
Our first paper was just accepted at Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Check back soon for publication!
Our new pre-print on the "epigenetic toolkit" of our favorite model organism, Pristionchus pacificus. In addition, Audrey et al., describe the first known loss of PRC2 in animals: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.12.05.570140v1
Michael was awarded a Mario Capecchi endowed chair - thank you to the department and University leadership for your support!
7/25/23: The lab gets it first major grant; an NIH Maximizing Investigators Research Award (MIRA) to study phenotypic plasticity and chromatin. Thanks to all members of the lab, the department, and the NIH!
7/1/23: Maddy won a position in the T32 Genetics Training Grant!
Check out Julie's report on water issues in the Idaho Statesman: https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/community/boise/article276344131.html
Michael will present on the Science (fiction) of Dune this October as part of the 'Adult Lecture Series' organized by the Taylorsville Library and the Salt Lake County Library: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-science-fiction-of-dune-tickets-617243079667
4/13/23: The Werner lab puts out its first preprint! Check our discovery halophile nematodes in the Great Salt Lake: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.04.12.536621v1
4/13/23: Michael's last post-doc paper was just published in Nature Communications: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-37734-z#citeas.
3/29/23: Audrey won an NSF-funded Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)!
2/2/23: Julie won a grant (Mini-ARTS) from the Society of Systematic Biologists!
Michael is a Topics Editor for a new Frontier's collection in Invertebrate Physiology: https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/50795/physiological-alterations-of-nematodes-influenced-by-cross-phylum-symbioses. Submit your abstract by Feb. 28th!
Different environments can elicit distinct phenotypes from a single genotype, referred to as phenotypic (developmental) plasticity (Stearns, 1989; West-Eberhard, 2003). Social insects have made use of this ability to establish elaborate caste systems, while other animals and plants can modify particular traits to match their environment; such as the microcrustacean Daphnia which develops structural ‘helmets’ in response to predator cues. Studies on these and other model systems have made significant contributions toward understanding the ecological and evolutionary implications of phenotypic plasticity. However, the proximate molecular mechanisms that transmit environmental information into physiological, behavioral, and morphological changes are still largely unknown. This is a key missing feature in our understanding of development, including many processes that affect human health and well-being, such as learning, adaptive immunity, and the effects of diet and exercise. We take an integrative approach to identify the epigenetic mechanisms that regulate phenotypic plasticity, and their potential roles in ecology, evolution and human health.