- Postdoctoral Fellow
- Wittkopp Lab
- University of Michigan
1061 Kraus Natural Science Building
830 North University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048
- Phone: (734) 647-5483
- Fax: (734) 763-0544
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of study
Having similar interests to Dr. Wittkopp, Gruber's Ph.D. research at UC-Irvine focused on documenting variation in gene expression in Drosophila. But the connections between allelic regulatory variation and actual organismal phenotypes -- those visible to natural selection -- are often unexplored. Yet these connections are critical to the processes that enable the evolution of organismal form and function.
One important possibility is that genes have "self-correction mechanisms," which can mitigate the consequences of cis-regulatory mutations. Gruber and Wittkopp conceived their project, "Investigating compensatory mechanisms for gene expression in the yeast genome," to document self-correction on a genome-wide scale. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an ideal system for this study because of the yeast community's genetic resources, which enable economical, high-throughput assays of gene expression that can be applied to thousands of samples.
If self-correction mechanisms are common, it raises many interesting possibilities about the evolution of gene expression. How can expression evolve if mutations' effects are frequently mitigated? Do buffered mutations accumulate in genomes as a source of cryptic genetic variation? On the other hand, if shown to be rare, regulatory compensation can be strongly refuted as a candidate explanation for dominance. Overall, this work will establish important baseline expectations for the consequences of allelic expression variation in eukaryotic genomes.
- Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
- College of Literature, Science, and the Arts