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Matthew Brown

Mississippi State University
Biological Sciences
Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762
United States


Taxa Studied: Other, Protozoans
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Sanger Sequencing, 454 Pyrosequencing, Solexa (Illumina) Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, Sectioning for Electron Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Epifluoresence Microscopy, Other, RNAseq
Research Description: Keywords: Evolution of multicellularity, developmental genetics, social, emergent behavior, protist, eukaryote, genomics, transcriptomics, cellular slime mold, amoeba, sorocarp The Brown laboratory focuses on the evolutionary biology of eukaryotes using microbes (protists) to better resolve the overall tree of Life. Our lab is most interested in the evolutionary trajectory leading to multicellularity. The multicellular world is far more diverse than just the animals, plants, and fungi that we notice everyday. Brown’s research has shown that the tendency towards multicellularity is rampant across the breadth of the tree of Life. In particular we are interested cellular slime molds, which is type a of organism that exists as a single cell (usually an amoeba) in the environment, were it feeds on bacteria or yeast cells. However, when these cells are faced with a hardship, like starvation, they signal to other cells in the vicinity to work together to form an emergent structure. Our research has shown that this type of emergent behavior has evolved at least seven times in the history of eukaryotes. We are now using comparative genomics and development transcriptomics to better understand how these organisms converged onto a similar mode of multicellularity. The Brown lab is also interested in recovering better resolution at the base of tree of Life where rapid evolutionary diversification occurred leading to the major groups of eukaryotes that we recognize today. We are utilizing a diverse set of approaches from classical protistological techniques to next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and phylogenomics.
Lab Web Page: http://mwb250.biology.msstate.edu
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: YES
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