Dr. Pawel Michalak


Assistant Professor of Biology
MAJOR AREA: Population Genomics
OFFICE: B01A Life Science
PHONE: 817-272-2979
LAB: B01Life Science
PHONE: 817-272-6103
FAX: 817-272-2855

PhD: Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland (1997)



My research program focuses on genomics from an evolutionary perspective. I have employed an integrative approach with a variety of molecular and quantitative techniques to rigorous understanding of how genes and their products affect inter-population divergence and reproductive isolation leading to the formation of new species (speciation). Traditionally, studies of adaptive variation and speciation have concentrated on genes and phenotypes, two extreme ends of a wide functional spectrum. Recent advances in functional genomics technology and bioinformatics, following the flood of DNA sequences in data banks, provide a unique opportunity to revitalize explorations into biology of populations. For example, based on genome-wide gene expression profiling via DNA microarrays or SAGE, one can (i) delineate physiological and developmental pathways and networks, (ii) identify genes responsible for a specific phenotypic change, and (iii) determine their regulation patterns. Inter-population comparisons of gene expression patterns may help to determine the origin of phenotypic variation that remains unexplained by means of classic quantitative genetic methods.

At the molecular level, I am interested in the evolution of gene and genome regulation patterns. It is well established that gene expression is efficiently regulated through promoter sequences and sequence-specific transcription factors. It is also becoming increasingly evident that apart being controlled by the protein network, genomes are regulated through a network of micro RNA, snoRNA and many other noncoding sense and antisense transcripts. I want to understand how these levels of expression regulation are manifested at the individual and population level, in relation to phenotypic traits that determine the distinctiveness of species. In my research, I use model organisms, mostly Drosophila flies and Xenopus African clawed frogs.