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lab profile


April Hill

University of Richmond
28 Westhampton Way
Gottwald Center for the Sciences
Richmond, VA 23173


Taxa Studied: Invertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Quantitative PCR (qPCR), Sanger Sequencing, Solexa (Illumina) Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, Sectioning for Histology, Confocal Microscopy, RNA interference(RNAi)
Research Description: We use marine and freshwater sponges as model systems to ask questions about the genetics and development of animal evolution and symbioses. Sponges are ancient animals that retain characteristics of an early experiment in multicellularity while also sharing some highly conserved features with other metazoans; these unique features provide a system in which to explore hypotheses about the evolution of animals. Research in our lab focuses the role of conserved developmental control genes and gene networks that originated prior to advent of animal adaptations such as tissues and nervous systems. We also work on elucidating the genetic pathways involved in the evolution of animal symbioses and their role in sponge development. Finally, our lab is involved in an international collaboration working on The Porifera Tree of Life (PorToL) project, which will generate a well-supported molecular and morphological phylogeny of the sponges that will improve our understanding of early animal evolution.
Lab Web Page: http://biology.richmond.edu/research/labs/april-hill-lab.html
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: NO
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