May: Katie Rondem

I’m a second-year grad student in the Reed Lab and am broadly interested in Evo-Devo–more specifically, how gene regulation contributes to the evolution of animal diversity.

Genomic comparisons between diverse animals reveal remarkable conservation between gene coding sequences, suggesting very different body forms are built using very similar sets of genes. How, then, has animal diversity evolved? One answer may lie in the genomic regions that regulate these genes, or regulatory regions. Regulatory regions tell genes when, where and how long they should be expressed, and they may hold the key to how all of this amazing animal diversity has developed and evolved. To give proof to this theory, I’m currently trying to show that the regulatory regions of a known butterfly color patterning gene are responsible for variation in wing color pattern in Heliconius butterflies using CRISPR gene editing techniques.

When I’m not doing research, I’m probably either playing Catan, binge-reading a fantasy series, or planning my next trip out west to go camping, hiking or skiing.