Bin Z. He
Changes in how genes are regulated are a major contributor to phenotypic evolution and adaptation. We study gene regulatory evolution in the context of stress response. Essential for survival, stress response must adapt as species evolve and encounter new challenges. So far this has been understudied and should deserve our attention both for basic understanding of the evolutionary principals, and also for disease and health purposes. One such example is the adaptation of commensal yeast species to the human host, an environment that poses very different stress profiles from what is experienced by their free-living relatives. To learn more about our research, follow our website at binhe-lab.org.
Environment is rarely static -- temperatures rise and fall, food availability changes -- all demanding an organism to sense its surroundings and make proper responses. Sometimes, however, the environment may change dramatically or experience steady long-term shifts, such that the existing stress responses are no longer fit for the task. The goal of our lab is to understand how gene regulatory networks for stress responses evolve and how it may have contributed to species adaptation to its environment.
To achieve this goal, we study a group of yeast species, which include the baker's yeast, S. cerevisiae, a related commensal species C. glabrata, which is also an opportunistic pathogen, as well as many others.