Patricia Wittkopp

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Arthur F. Thurnau Professor
Associate Chair for Graduate Studies

University of Michigan
1059/1061 Kraus Natural Science Building
830 North University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048

Office Location(s): 1059 Nat Sci
Lab: 1061 Nat Sci 734.647.5483
Phone: 734.763.1548
Fax: 734.763.0544
Lab phone: 734.647.5483
Wittkopp Lab
View Curriculum Vitae

  • Affiliation(s)
    • Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
    • Center for Statistical Genetics
    • Program in Biomedical Sciences
    • Department of Computational Medicine and Biology
    • Honors Program
  • About

    Academic background

    Dr. Wittkopp received her B.S. at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) in 1997, her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI) in 2002, and conducted postdoctoral research at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) from 2002-2005 as a fellow of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Wittkopp joined the EEB faculty in September 2005.

    Research interests

    My research aims to identify the genetic changes responsible for phenotypic differences within and between species and to understand how these changes impact development.  I am particularly interested in molecular mechanisms that regulate gene expression and how they evolve. Current research examines patterns of regulatory evolution on a genomic scale and investigates the specific genetic changes that contribute to pigmentation evolution in Drosophila. Methods from population and quantitative genetics, developmental biology, bioinformatics and genomics are combined in this work.


    Biology 305 Genetics
    This course is open to students concentrating in the natural sciences or intending to apply for graduate or professional study in basic or applied biology. This introduction to genetics includes the following sections: DNA and chromosomes; gene transmission; linkage and recombination; genes and enzymes; the genetic code; mutations and variations; recombinant DNA; introduction to genomics; gene regulation; developmental, population, quantitative, and evolutionary genetics.

    There are three hours of lecture each week and one discussion section directed by GSIs. The discussion sections expand on and review lecture material through the use of active learning. Grading is based on weekly problem set assessments, two exams during the semester, a final exam, and class participation via student response systems. All graded assignments focus primarily on new problems that test applications of basic concepts and genetic techniques. Practice problems are provided with help available in discussion sections and at the Genetics Study Center.

    Textbook: Introduction to Genetic Analysis, Griffiths, Wessler, Lewontin, and Carroll. 9th edition. (W.H. Freeman & Co.) ISBN: 0-71676-887-9.

    EEB 404/ MCDB 404 Genetics, Development, and Evolution
    This course introduces students to the field of evolution and development, with an emphasis on genetics as a unifying force. After reviewing fundamental principles in developmental and evolutionary biology, papers from the primary literature investigating the molecular mechanisms responsible for evolutionary change will be discussed.

    The course provides the opportunity to learn about the basic principles and latest discoveries in the burgeoning field of evolutionary developmental biology. This course will also integrate material presented in both EEB and MCDB courses, providing a bridge between disciplines and helping students to develop a more holistic view of biology. Finally, the format of the course explicitly emphasizes the development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills.

    EEB516 (Principles of Evolution) co-teaching with Professor Lacey Knowles
    This course explores various topics in evolutionary biology, with an emphasis on conceptual principles and generalizations. Fundamental principles are discussed in relation to topics of active contemporary research and controversy. It includes lectures and discussion on major principles in population genetics, molecular and phenotypic evolution, speciation, evolutionary developmental biology, phylogenetics, and macroevolution. The course is broadly relevant to many other fields, from conservation biology to genomics. The course is not a replacement for other EEB courses (e.g., population genetics or molecular evolution). There will be readings from Futuyma plus about two papers or other readings per lecture. Grades will be based on one midterm exam and one final exam (during exam week). Textbook: Evolution, D.J. Futuyma. This course provides a foundation in evolutionary biology for students whose professional activities will require familiarity with this field. It includes lectures and discussion on major principles in population genetics molecular and phenotypic evolution, speciation, evolutionary developmental biology phylogenetics, and macroevolution. Fundamental principles are discussed in relation to topics of active contemporary research and controversy.

  • Education
    • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Evolutionary genetics and genomics, and evolution of development
  • Graduate students
    • Alisha John (MCDB)
    • Abigail Lamb (MCDB)
    • José Andrade López (MCDB)
    • Brian Metzger (EEB)
    • Kraig Stevenson (Bioinformatics)
    • Bing Yang (MCDB)
  • Postdoctoral fellows
    • Joseph Coolon
    • Fabien Duveau
    • Andrea Hodgins-Davis
    • Richard Lusk