Biology Research News

This page features brief profiles of both recent and ongoing research by Amherst College's faculty and students in Biology.

Please see the Biology Research News Archives page for older entries.


Hood Lab: "Chaos of rearrangements in the mating-type chromosomes of the anther-smut fungus Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae"

Recent Publication

Badouin*, H., Hood*, M.E., Gouzy, J., Aguileta, G., Siguenza, S., Perlin, M.H., Cuomo, C.A., Branca, A., and Giraud, T. (* co-first authors). Chaos of rearrangements in the mating-type chromosomes of the anther-smut fungus Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae. Genetics (2015) online early DOI: 10.1534/genetics.115.177709.

Genomic regions linked to mating compatibility factors are rich in repetitive DNA and notoriously difficult to study.  We used the PacBio sequencing technology to completely assemble fungal mating type chromosomes.

Rearrangements of an unprecedented scale were found, supporting the very ancient nature of the mating-type chromosomes, which rivals the dynamics seen in mammalian XX/XY sex  chromosomes.

Hood Lab

4 June 2015 TLR

Clotfelter Lab: "Guanine-Based Structural Coloration as an Indicator of Oxidative Stress in a Cichlid Fish"

In Press


Matthew D. Cahn ‘13, Alexandria C. Brown and Ethan D. Clotfelter. Guanine-based structural coloration as an indicator of oxidative stress in a cichlid fish. Journal of Experimental Zoology, in press.

 "We used a novel approach to measure structural coloration in a fish and found that structural coloration can be condition-dependent and indicative of environmental stress."


2 April 205 TLR


Purdy Lab: “The Acetate Switch of an Intestinal Pathogen Disrupts Insulin Signaling and Lipid Metabolism"

Recent Publication

Purdy Research PhotoSaiyu Hang, Alexandra E. Purdy, William P. Robins, Zhipeng Wang, Manabendra Mandal, Sarah Chang, John J. Mekalanos, and Paula I. Watnick. The acetate switch of an intestinal pathogen disrupts insulin signaling and lipid metabolism. Cell Host & Microbe. November 12, 2014.

Vibrio cholerae unexpectedly manipulates host metabolism and virulence by controlling acetate levels in the GI tract via the CrbRS signal transduction system.

30 Jan 2015 TLR


McGuire Life Sciences Building