My research, conducted as part of the Antonis Rokas Lab at Vanderbilt University, aims to utilize various 'omics approaches to understand the evolution and function of fungal genomes. I implement computational tools to conduct analyses of species relationships, sequence evolution, and mutational variation across the fungal tree of life or populations thereof. These analyses can inform the evolution and/or divergence of traits important to our lives such as pathogenicity and bioindustrial traits like fermentative capacity. More generally, I am most interested in how populations and/or species evolve, diverge, and what genomic elements and traits define them.
Current projects involve wine associated strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) and the non-conventional wine yeast genus Hanseniaspora. Past work includes study of the primary human and animal pathogen, Cryptococcus gattii.
To facilitate these analyses, I implement multiple programming languages such as Python, R, bash, and awk. Numerous scripts that I have written are publicly available among my github repositories (https://github.com/JLSteenwyk). These repositories aim to enable the analysis phylogenetic, molecular, and related analyses.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute James H. Gilliam Fellow