Chris T Amemiya

Benaroya Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, United States

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Publications (147)1118.88 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have analyzed the available genome and transcriptome resources from the coelacanth in order to characterize genes involved in adaptive immunity. Two highly distinctive IgW-encoding loci have been identified that exhibit a unique genomic organization, including a multiplicity of tandemly repeated constant region exons. The overall organization of the IgW loci precludes typical heavy chain class switching. A locus encoding IgM could not be identified either computationally or by using several different experimental strategies. Four distinct sets of genes encoding Ig light chains were identified. This includes a variant sigma-type Ig light chain previously identified only in cartilaginous fishes and which is now provisionally denoted sigma-2. Genes encoding α/β and γ/δ T-cell receptors, and CD3, CD4, and CD8 co-receptors also were characterized. Ig heavy chain variable region genes and TCR components are interspersed within the TCR α/δ locus; this organization previously was reported only in tetrapods and raises questions regarding evolution and functional cooption of genes encoding variable regions. The composition, organization and syntenic conservation of the major histocompatibility complex locus have been characterized. We also identified large numbers of genes encoding cytokines and their receptors, and other genes associated with adaptive immunity. In terms of sequence identity and organization, the adaptive immune genes of the coelacanth more closely resemble orthologous genes in tetrapods than those in teleost fishes, consistent with current phylogenomic interpretations. Overall, the work reported described herein highlights the complexity inherent in the coelacanth genome and provides a rich catalog of immune genes for future investigations. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 9999B: 1-26, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution 01/2014; · 2.12 Impact Factor
  • Mark Robinson, Chris T Amemiya
    Current biology: CB 01/2014; 24(2):R62-3. · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Novel leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) microsatellite loci were developed via standard cloning techniques and tested for use in population genetics studies. Six out of a total of twelve microsatellites tested were usable for population analysis. Seadragon samples from Western Australia (N = 6), Southern Australia (N = 11), and a captive group (N = 11) were analyzed. Here, we present leafy seadragon microsatellite primer sequences for all 12 loci and population genetics statistics for the six loci that amplified consistently and displayed adequate variability to estimate population parameters, such as diversity, population differences, and relatedness. Observed heterozygosities ranged from 0.225 to 0.926 and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.278 to 0.650. Pairwise differences among populations (F ST estimates) from samples collected off the southern coast of Western and South Australia, and captive animals ranged from a low of 0.188 between Southern Australia and captive animals, to a high of 0.212 between Western Australia and captive animals. Statistical assignment analyses suggested between one and three populations. Percent first order relatives among individuals was high and ranged from 40 within Western Australia to 55 within captive animals. These loci were tested on other species including weedy seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), as well as assorted OPEN ACCESS Diversity 2014, 6 34 seahorses (Hippocampus reidi, H. erectus) and pipefish (Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus, D. pessuliferus, Corythoichthys intestinalis, Syngnathus leptorhynchus) with no success.
  • Kazuhiko Kawasaki, Chris T. Amemiya
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    ABSTRACT: The coelacanth is the basal-most extant sarcopterygian that has teeth and tooth-like structures, comprising bone, dentin, and enamel or enameloid. Formation of these tissues involves many members of the secretory calcium-binding protein (SCPP) family. In tetrapods, acidic-residue-rich SCPPs are used in mineralization of bone and dentin, whereas Pro/Gln-rich SCPPs participate in enamel formation. Teleosts also employ many SCPPs for tissue mineralization. Nevertheless, the repertoire of SCPPs is largely different in teleosts and tetrapods; hence, filling this gap would be critical to elucidate early evolution of mineralized tissues in osteichthyans. In the present study, we searched for SCPP genes in the coelacanth genome and identified 11, of which two have clear orthologs in both tetrapods and teleosts, seven only in tetrapods, and two in neither of them. Given the divergence times of these vertebrate lineages, our discovery of this many SCPP genes shared between the coelacanth and tetrapods, but not with teleosts, suggests a complicated evolutionary scheme of SCPP genes in early osteichthyans. Our investigation also revealed both conserved and derived characteristics of SCPPs in the coelacanth and other vertebrates. Notably, acidic SCPPs independently evolved various acidic repeats in different lineages, while maintaining high acidity, presumably important for interactions with calcium. Furthermore, the three Pro/Gln-rich SCPP genes, required for mineralizing enamel matrix and confirmed only in tetrapods, were all identified in the coelacanth, strongly suggesting that enamel is equivalent in the coelacanth and tetrapods. This finding corroborates the previous proposition that true enamel evolved much earlier than the origin of tetrapods. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 9999B: 1–13, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution 11/2013; · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Circular and apparently trans-spliced RNAs have recently been reported as abundant types of transcripts in mammalian transcriptome data. Both types of non-colinear RNAs are also abundant in RNA-seq of different tissue from both the African and the Indonesian coelacanth. We observe more than 8,000 lincRNAs with normal gene structure and several thousands of circularized and trans-spliced products, showing that such atypical RNAs form a substantial contribution to the transcriptome. Surprisingly, the majority of the circularizing and trans-connecting splice junctions are unique to atypical forms, that is, are not used in normal isoforms. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 9999B: 1-10, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution 10/2013; · 2.12 Impact Factor
  • Chris T Amemiya, Günter P Wagner
    Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution 05/2013; · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of a living coelacanth specimen in 1938 was remarkable, as this lineage of lobe-finned fish was thought to have become extinct 70 million years ago. The modern coelacanth looks remarkably similar to many of its ancient relatives, and its evolutionary proximity to our own fish ancestors provides a glimpse of the fish that first walked on land. Here we report the genome sequence of the African coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. Through a phylogenomic analysis, we conclude that the lungfish, and not the coelacanth, is the closest living relative of tetrapods. Coelacanth protein-coding genes are significantly more slowly evolving than those of tetrapods, unlike other genomic features. Analyses of changes in genes and regulatory elements during the vertebrate adaptation to land highlight genes involved in immunity, nitrogen excretion and the development of fins, tail, ear, eye, brain and olfaction. Functional assays of enhancers involved in the fin-to-limb transition and in the emergence of extra-embryonic tissues show the importance of the coelacanth genome as a blueprint for understanding tetrapod evolution.
    Nature 04/2013; 496(7445):311-316. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The discovery of a living coelacanth specimen in 1938 was remarkable, as this lineage of lobe-finned fish was thought to have become extinct 70 million years ago. The modern coelacanth looks remarkably similar to many of its ancient relatives, and its evolutionary proximity to our own fish ancestors provides a glimpse of the fish that first walked on land. Here we report the genome sequence of the African coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. Through a phylogenomic analysis, we conclude that the lungfish, and not the coelacanth, is the closest living relative of tetrapods. Coelacanth protein-coding genes are significantly more slowly evolving than those of tetrapods, unlike other genomic features. Analyses of changes in genes and regulatory elements during the vertebrate adaptation to land highlight genes involved in immunity, nitrogen excretion and the development of fins, tail, ear, eye, brain and olfaction. Functional assays of enhancers involved in the fin-to-limb transition and in the emergence of extra-embryonic tissues show the importance of the coelacanth genome as a blueprint for understanding tetrapod evolution.
    Nature 04/2013; 496(7445):311-316. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: We describe the genome of the western painted turtle, Chrysemys picta bellii, one of the most widespread, abundant and well-studied turtles. We place the genome into a comparative evolutionary context, and focus on genomic features associated with tooth loss, immune function, longevity, sex differentiation and determination, and the species¿ physiological capacities to withstand extreme anoxia and tissue freezing. RESULTS: Our phylogenetic analyses confirm that turtles are the sister group to living archosaurs, and demonstrate an extraordinarily slow rate of sequence evolution in the painted turtle. The ability of the painted turtle to withstand complete anoxia and partial freezing appears to be associated with common vertebrate gene networks, and we identify candidate genes for future functional analyses. Tooth loss shares a common pattern of pseudogenization and degradation of tooth-specific genes with birds, although the rate of accumulation of mutations is much slower in the painted turtle. Genes associated with sex differentiation generally reflect phylogeny rather than convergence in sex determination functionality. Among gene families that demonstrate exceptional expansions or show signatures of strong natural selection, immune function and musculoskeletal patterning genes are consistently overrepresented. CONCLUSIONS: Our comparative genomic analyses indicate that common vertebrate regulatory networks, some of which have analogs in human diseases, are often involved in the western painted turtle¿s extraordinary physiological capacities. As these regulatory pathways are analyzed at the functional level, the painted turtle may offer important insights into the management of a number of human health disorders.
    Genome biology 03/2013; 14(3):R28. · 10.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lampreys are representatives of an ancient vertebrate lineage that diverged from our own ∼500 million years ago. By virtue of this deeply shared ancestry, the sea lamprey (P. marinus) genome is uniquely poised to provide insight into the ancestry of vertebrate genomes and the underlying principles of vertebrate biology. Here, we present the first lamprey whole-genome sequence and assembly. We note challenges faced owing to its high content of repetitive elements and GC bases, as well as the absence of broad-scale sequence information from closely related species. Analyses of the assembly indicate that two whole-genome duplications likely occurred before the divergence of ancestral lamprey and gnathostome lineages. Moreover, the results help define key evolutionary events within vertebrate lineages, including the origin of myelin-associated proteins and the development of appendages. The lamprey genome provides an important resource for reconstructing vertebrate origins and the evolutionary events that have shaped the genomes of extant organisms.
    Nature Genetics 02/2013; · 35.21 Impact Factor
  • The Biology of Genomes, Suzhou, China; 01/2013
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian Dlx3 and Dlx4 genes are configured as a bigene cluster, and their respective expression patterns are controlled temporally and spatially by cis-elements that largely reside within the intergenic region of the cluster. Previous work revealed that there are conspicuously conserved elements within the intergenic region of the Dlx3-4 bigene clusters of mouse and human. In this paper we have extended these analyses to include 12 additional mammalian taxa (including a marsupial and a monotreme) in order to better define the nature and molecular evolutionary trends of the coding and non-coding functional elements among morphologically divergent mammals. Dlx3-4 regions were fully sequenced from 12 divergent taxa of interest. We identified three theria-specific amino acid replacements in homeodomain of Dlx4 gene that functions in placenta. Sequence analyses of constrained nucleotide sites in the intergenic non-coding region showed that many of the intergenic conserved elements are highly conserved and have evolved slowly within the mammals. In contrast, a branchial arch/craniofacial enhancer I37-2 exhibited accelerated evolution at the branch between the monotreme and therian common ancestor despite being highly conserved among therian species. Functional analysis of I37-2 in transgenic mice has shown that the equivalent region of the platypus fails to drive transcriptional activity in branchial arches. These observations, taken together with our molecular evolutionary data, suggest that theria-specific episodic changes in the I37-2 element may have contributed to craniofacial innovation at the base of the mammalian lineage. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 9999B:1-12, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution 09/2012; · 2.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vertebrates have experienced two rounds of whole-genome duplication (WGD) in the stem lineages of deep nodes within the group and a subsequent duplication event in the stem lineage of the teleosts-a highly diverse group of ray-finned fishes. Here, we present the first full Hox gene sequences for any member of the Acipenseriformes, the American paddlefish, and confirm that an independent WGD occurred in the paddlefish lineage, approximately 42 Ma based on sequences spanning the entire HoxA cluster and eight genes on the HoxD gene cluster. These clusters comprise different HOX loci and maintain conserved synteny relative to bichir, zebrafish, stickleback, and pufferfish, as well as human, mouse, and chick. We also provide a gene genealogy for the duplicated fzd8 gene in paddlefish and present evidence for the first Hox14 gene in any ray-finned fish. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the American paddlefish has an independently duplicated genome. Substitution patterns of the "alpha" paralogs on both the HoxA and HoxD gene clusters suggest transcriptional inactivation consistent with functional diploidization. Further, there are similarities in the pattern of sequence divergence among duplicated Hox genes in paddlefish and teleost lineages, even though they occurred independently approximately 200 Myr apart. We highlight implications on comparative analyses in the study of the "fin-limb transition" as well as gene and genome duplication in bony fishes, which includes all ray-finned fishes as well as the lobe-finned fishes and tetrapod vertebrates.
    Genome Biology and Evolution 07/2012; 4(9):825-41. · 4.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) undergoes developmentally programmed genome rearrangements that mediate deletion of∼20% of germline DNA from somatic cells during early embryogenesis. This genomic differentiation of germline and soma is intriguing, because the germline plays a unique biological role wherein it must possess the ability to undergo meiotic recombination and the capacity to differentiate into every cell type. These evolutionarily indispensable functions set the germline at odds with somatic tissues, because factors that promote recombination and pluripotency can potentially disrupt genome integrity or specification of cell fate when misexpressed in somatic cell lineages (e.g., in oncogenesis). Here, we describe the development of new genomic and transcriptomic resources for lamprey and use these to identify hundreds of genes that are targeted for programmed deletion from somatic cell lineages. Transcriptome sequencing and targeted validation studies further confirm that somatically deleted genes function both in adult (meiotic) germline and in the development of primordial germ cells during embryogenesis. Inferred functional information from deleted regions indicates that developmentally programmed rearrangement serves as a (perhaps ancient) biological strategy to ensure segregation of pluripotency functions to the germline, effectively eliminating the potential for somatic misexpression.
    Current biology: CB 07/2012; 22(16):1524-9. · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Marine stickleback fish have colonized and adapted to thousands of streams and lakes formed since the last ice age, providing an exceptional opportunity to characterize genomic mechanisms underlying repeated ecological adaptation in nature. Here we develop a high-quality reference genome assembly for threespine sticklebacks. By sequencing the genomes of twenty additional individuals from a global set of marine and freshwater populations, we identify a genome-wide set of loci that are consistently associated with marine-freshwater divergence. Our results indicate that reuse of globally shared standing genetic variation, including chromosomal inversions, has an important role in repeated evolution of distinct marine and freshwater sticklebacks, and in the maintenance of divergent ecotypes during early stages of reproductive isolation. Both coding and regulatory changes occur in the set of loci underlying marine-freshwater evolution, but regulatory changes appear to predominate in this well known example of repeated adaptive evolution in nature.
    Nature 04/2012; 484(7392):55-61. · 38.60 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Marine stickleback fish have colonized and adapted to thousands of streams and lakes formed since the last ice age, providing an exceptional opportunity to characterize genomic mechanisms underlying repeated ecological adaptation in nature. Here we develop a high-quality reference genome assembly for threespine sticklebacks. By sequencing the genomes of twenty additional individuals from a global set of marine and freshwater populations, we identify a genome-wide set of loci that are consistently associated with marine–freshwater divergence. Our results indicate that reuse of globally shared standing genetic variation, including chromosomal inversions, has an important role in repeated evolution of distinct marine and freshwater sticklebacks, and in the maintenance of divergent ecotypes during early stages of reproductive isolation. Both coding and regulatory changes occur in the set of loci underlying marine–freshwater evolution, but regulatory changes appear to predominate in this well known example of repeated adaptive evolution in nature.
    Nature. 04/2012; 484(7392):55-61.
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Marine stickleback fish have colonized and adapted to thousands of streams and lakes formed since the last ice age, providing an exceptional opportunity to characterize genomic mechanisms underlying repeated ecological adaptation in nature. Here we develop a high-quality reference genome assembly for threespine sticklebacks. By sequencing the genomes of twenty additional individuals from a global set of marine and freshwater populations, we identify a genome-wide set of loci that are consistently associated with marine–freshwater divergence. Our results indicate that reuse of globally shared standing genetic variation, including chromosomal inversions, has an important role in repeated evolution of distinct marine and freshwater sticklebacks, and in the maintenance of divergent ecotypes during early stages of reproductive isolation. Both coding and regulatory changes occur in the set of loci underlying marine–freshwater evolution, but regulatory changes appear to predominate in this well known example of repeated adaptive evolution in nature.
    Nature 04/2012; 484(7392):55-61. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is currently under threat of extinction due to an unusual fatal contagious cancer called Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). DFTD is caused by a clonal tumour cell line that is transmitted between unrelated individuals as an allograft without triggering immune rejection due to low levels of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) diversity in Tasmanian devils. Here we report the characterization of the genomic regions encompassing MHC Class I and Class II genes in the Tasmanian devil. Four genomic regions approximately 960 kb in length were assembled and annotated using BAC contigs and physically mapped to devil Chromosome 4q. 34 genes and pseudogenes were identified, including five Class I and four Class II loci. Interestingly, when two haplotypes from two individuals were compared, three genomic copy number variants with sizes ranging from 1.6 to 17 kb were observed within the classical Class I gene region. One deletion is particularly important as it turns a Class Ia gene into a pseudogene in one of the haplotypes. This deletion explains the previously observed variation in the Class I allelic number between individuals. The frequency of this deletion is highest in the northwestern devil population and lowest in southeastern areas. The third sequenced marsupial MHC provides insights into the evolution of this dynamic genomic region among the diverse marsupial species. The two sequenced devil MHC haplotypes revealed three copy number variations that are likely to significantly affect immune response and suggest that future work should focus on the role of copy number variations in disease susceptibility in this species.
    BMC Genomics 03/2012; 13:87. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) is a fatal, transmissible malignancy that threatens the world's largest marsupial carnivore, the Tasmanian devil, with extinction. First recognised in 1996, DFTD has had a catastrophic effect on wild devil numbers, and intense research efforts to understand and contain the disease have since demonstrated that the tumour is a clonal cell line transmitted by allograft. We used chromosome painting and gene mapping to deconstruct the DFTD karyotype and determine the chromosome and gene rearrangements involved in carcinogenesis. Chromosome painting on three different DFTD tumour strains determined the origins of marker chromosomes and provided a general overview of the rearrangement in DFTD karyotypes. Mapping of 105 BAC clones by fluorescence in situ hybridisation provided a finer level of resolution of genome rearrangements in DFTD strains. Our findings demonstrate that only limited regions of the genome, mainly chromosomes 1 and X, are rearranged in DFTD. Regions rearranged in DFTD are also highly rearranged between different marsupials. Differences between strains are limited, reflecting the unusually stable nature of DFTD. Finally, our detailed maps of both the devil and tumour karyotypes provide a physical framework for future genomic investigations into DFTD.
    PLoS Genetics 02/2012; 8(2):e1002483. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    Jeramiah J Smith, Kenta Sumiyama, Chris T Amemiya
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    ABSTRACT: Emerging data from the coelacanth genome are beginning to shed light on the origin and evolution of tetrapod genes and noncoding elements. Of particular relevance is the realization that coelacanth retains active copies of transposable elements that once served as raw material for the evolution of new functional sequences in the vertebrate lineage. Recognizing the evolutionary significance of coelacanth genome in this regard, we employed an ab initio search strategy to further classify its repetitive complement. This analysis uncovered a class of interspersed elements (Latimeria Harbinger 1-LatiHarb1) that is a major contributor to coelacanth genome structure and gene content (∼1% to 4% or the genome). Sequence analyses indicate that 1) each ∼8.7 kb LatiHarb1 element contains two coding regions, a transposase gene and a gene whose function is as yet unknown (MYB-like) and 2) copies of LatiHarb1 retain biological activity in the coelacanth genome. Functional analyses verify transcriptional and enhancer activities of LatiHarb1 in vivo and reveal transcriptional decoupling that could permit MYB-like genes to play functional roles not directly linked to transposition. Thus, LatiHarb1 represents the first known instance of a harbinger-superfamily transposon with contemporary activity in a vertebrate genome. Analyses of LatiHarb1 further corroborate the notion that exaptation of anciently active harbinger elements gave rise to at least two vertebrate genes (harbi1 and naif1) and indicate that the vertebrate gene tsnare1 also traces its ancestry to this transposon superfamily. Based on our analyses of LatiHarb1, we speculate that several functional features of harbinger elements may predispose the transposon superfamily toward recurrent exaptive evolution of cellular coding genes. In addition, these analyses further reinforce the broad utility of the coelacanth genome and other "outgroup" genomes in understanding the ancestry and evolution of vertebrate genes and genomes.
    Molecular Biology and Evolution 10/2011; 29(3):985-93. · 10.35 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

6k Citations
1,118.88 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2014
    • Benaroya Research Institute
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2004–2013
    • University of Leipzig
      • Institut für Informatik
      Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
      • Department of Genetics
      New Brunswick, NJ, United States
    • North Carolina State University
      • Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences
      Raleigh, NC, United States
  • 2012
    • National Institute of Genetics
      • Division of Population Genetics
      Mishima, Shizuoka-ken, Japan
  • 2009–2012
    • San Francisco State University
      • Department of Biology
      San Francisco, CA, United States
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 2007–2012
    • Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2002–2011
    • Virginia Mason Medical Center
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 2010
    • Northeastern University
      • Department of Biology
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2004–2010
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • • Department of Biology
      • • Department of Genome Sciences
      Seattle, Washington, United States
  • 1991–2009
    • University of South Florida
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Tampa, Florida, United States
  • 1999–2006
    • Yale University
      • • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • • Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
      New Haven, CT, United States
    • California Institute of Technology
      • Division of Biology
      Pasadena, CA, United States
    • Beverly Hospital, Boston MA
      Beverly, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1998–2006
    • University of South Florida St. Petersburg
      St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
  • 2005
    • Loyola University
      New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
    • University of Southern Indiana
      • Department of Biology
      Evansville, Indiana, United States
  • 2003–2004
    • Pennsylvania State University
      • • Department of Animal Science
      • • College of Agricultural Sciences
      University Park, MD, United States
    • The Graduate University for Advanced Studies
      Миура, Kanagawa, Japan
    • University of Bergen
      Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
  • 1999–2004
    • University of Massachusetts Medical School
      • Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
      Worcester, MA, United States
  • 1998–2003
    • Boston University
      • Center for Human Genetics
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 1992
    • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
      Livermore, California, United States
  • 1990
    • Tampa Bay Research Institute
      St. Petersburg, Florida, United States