Researchers in the Genomics and Microbiology Research Lab work on a variety of different organisms asking very different research questions. The uniting factor is that everyone works with DNA. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is found in all living organisms and is the material inherited from our parents; it is the instruction manual for our cells. Staff in the lab study the DNA of organisms ranging from microbes to fish, and planthoppers to primates, including humans. We use molecular tools and microscopy in addition to DNA sequencing and phylogeny reconstruction to answer exciting questions about the evolution of species and connection to health and disease.

Scientists, students and volunteers in the lab engage the public with our research behind glass walls, and frequently engage Museum visitors in our citizen science projects. Citizen scientists are individuals who contribute their time, effort and samples toward our research projects, although they aren’t necessarily trained as scientists. Many of our citizen science projects are in collaboration with Rob Dunn and the AWESOME Your Wild Life Team at North Carolina State University: