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


John R. Finnerty

Boston University
5 Cummington Street
Boston, MA 2215


Taxa Studied: Invertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Quantitative PCR (qPCR), Sanger Sequencing, 454 Pyrosequencing, Solexa (Illumina) Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, Antibody Staining, Sectioning for Histology, Transgenesis
Research Description: We use an interdisciplinary approach to study the causes of biodiversity and the origin of key evolutionary innovations. We are simultaneously investigating genomic innovations (e.g., Hox genes, stress-response pathways), organismal innovations (e.g., bilateral symmetry, developmental plasticity), and ecological innovations (e.g., shifts in ecological niche—from marine to estuarine, and from free-living to parasitic). Our model systems are marine invertebrates, primarily members of the phylum Cnidaria. Our three focal species are the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, the lined sea anemone, Edwardsiella lineata, and the cauliflower coral, Pocillopora damicornis. Nematostella is an estuarine sea anemone that is native to salt marshes and other estuarine habitats along Atlantic coast of North America. In the early 1990’s, its potential value as a model system for developmental biology was first explicitly recognized. Over the last 10 years, its utility has extended far beyond developmental biology, due to its informative phylogenetic position, and its amenability to field studies, organismal studies, developmental studies, cellular studies, molecular and biochemical studies, and genomic studies. Edwardsiella is a close relative of Nematostella, but it is marine rather than estuarine, and it has evolved a novel parasitic stage in its life cycle during which it assumes a vermiform body plan and it lives in the body of the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi. Pocillopora is a widespread Indo-Pacific coral that exhibits relatively wide environmental tolerances, and it is an excellent laboratory model for investigating coral stress response.
Lab Web Page: http://people.bu.edu/jrf3/FinnertyLab/
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
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.