Dr. Matt Hale
Broadly, my research interests lie at the intersection of genetics, genomics, evolution, and ecology. More specifically, I use next generation sequencing to study the genetic basis of adaptation in wild unmanipulated organisms. To answer these questions I use a variety of different techniques including linkage mapping, QTL analysis, population genetics, transcriptome sequencing and analysis, quantitative genetics, and phylogenetics. Currently, I am mostly asking these questions in the salmonids (salmon, trout, and char). More specifically, my lab is currently involved with two lines of research.
1) The genetic basis of migration. Many different species of birds, mammals, insects, and fishes exhibit migratory behaviors. I am interested in determining what genes are associated with those behaviors. To do this my lab mostly focuses on the salmonids, as several species have both migratory and resident ecotypes. Quantitative genetic methods have determined that these different migratory strategies are highly heritable, and therefore must have a genetic component. By combining next generation sequencing approaches with bioinformatics analysis, we are beginning to determine which genes and pathways are crucial in this decision. Although my work has mostly focused on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), I am also involved in other projects asking similar questions in brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and lake trout (S. namaycush).
2) Genetic and genomic differences between the sexes. Although males and females differ in many phenotypes that have a genetic basis, relatively few genes are located on the heterogametic sex chromosomes. Variation in gene expression between the sexes is one mechanism that can generate phenotypic divergence between the sexes. My lab uses rainbow trout as a model for asking questions about the magnitude of sex-bias in gene expression (as well as the identity of genes showing sex-bias in expression), and how this changes during development. In addition, some of my previous work has used genomic data to determine the genetic basis of sex determination in lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens).
Undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in my lab should contact me via email.