Applying for Funding
Symposia and Workshops
Finding a Lab
Join the EDEN Network
Participating Labs
Research Exchange Experiences
Steering Committee
Extavour Lab
lab profile


Lab ImageAdam Reitzel

University of North Carolina
Charlotte, NC


Taxa Studied: Invertebrate Animals, test
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Quantitative PCR (qPCR), Microarrays, Sanger Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence , morpholino
Research Description: My current research as a postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Ann Tarrant's lab at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution utilizes the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, to study the evolution and transcriptional regulation of stress response pathways. Nematostella is a useful, emerging model species to study these questions for at least three reasons: 1) as a cnidarian, this anemone is evolutionarily well-positioned as a representative outgroup to traditional studies in vertebrates and insects, 2) the genome has been sequenced and extensive molecular tools, including gene expression profiling, in situ hybridization, and knock downs, have been developed, and 3) it is a broadly distributed, estuarine specialist occupying high marsh environments; thus, it is naturally exposed to habitat perturbations and point sources of contaminants. I am currently pursing three research directions that address a suite of questions and use a diverse set of techniques. Research Direction 1. Transcriptional Profiling of Nematostella in Response to Environmental Stressors. Estuaries continue to be impacted by diverse stressors including coastal development, climate change and anthropogenic contaminants (e.g., heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and endocrine disruptors). Currently, I am assessing transcriptional responses of Nematostella to two stressors (temperature, toxic metals) using (1) quantitative PCR (qPCR) for candidate genes identified with comparative genomics and (2) transcriptional profiling with suppressive subtractive hybridization, microarrays, and, soon, next-gen sequencing. Each of these techniques has identified conserved and novel molecular players and expression patterns, likely involved in mediating the organismal response to these common stressors. Research Direction 2. Evolution and Function of Nuclear Receptors in Basal Metazoans. Nuclear receptors are essential transcription factors restricted to animals that are involved in development, physiology, and environmental signal reception. The evolutionary history of this superfamily and function of particular NRs is poorly characterized in basal metazoans. In collaboration with Dr. Tarrant, we are characterizing the distribution of NR orthologs in various basal metazoans (cnidarians, placozoans, sponges, ctenophores) using bioinformatic and phylogenetic techniques. Secondly, we are characterizing the expression of these genes with qPCR and in situ hybridization. Finally, we are determining the potential function of these NRs via in vitro protein-protein interaction assays and in vivo knock-downs for particular NRs. Research Direction 3. Population Genetic Structure of Nematostella. Collaborators and I have completed a series of studies characterizing the population genetic structure of Nematostella throughout its natural and introduced range. These studies have shown a high degree of genetic structure among populations, where some populations have low gene flow and thus are genetically isolated. In combination with environmental monitoring, these data suggest that particular populations are vulnerable to local extinction events via anthropogenic habitat restructuring, which may not be recolonized after habitat restoration. We are also identifying geographically-restricted polymorphisms through completed bioinformatic surveys and on-going survey of single nucleotide polymorphisms utilizing pyrosequencing. By combining data on population distribution, gene flow, and location-specific alleles with phenotypic variation, we are working to identify locally adapted populations, with efforts to characterize what specific polymorphisms may underlie these adaptations.
Lab Web Page: http://clas-pages.uncc.edu/adam-reitzel/
Willing to Host Undergraduates: NO
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: NO
Copyright © 2010 EDEN Evo-Devo-Eco Network. All Rights Reserved. Site designed by Academic Web Pages.
EDEN Logo: Daniel Christianson. Logo Image: Frederike Alwes.