Associate Professor , Sabbatical September 2019 - August 2020
Abbotsford campus, B371
Phone: 604-504-7441 ext. 4804email James
PhD (University of Manitoba)
I joined the UFV Department of Biology faculty in 2012. I received my Ph.D (Microbiology) from the University of Manitoba in 2002. My doctoral thesis examined the 5S rRNA (multi)-gene family organization among most species belonging to Pythium, Phytophthora, and Halophtophthora, members of the living Kingdom Stramenopila, to assess the evolutionary stability of the 5S rRNA gene sequence and arrangement patterns and to determine which pattern is likely the ancestral state in these genera.
Between 2002-2008 I completed two post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio, USA, that focused in molecular biology and molecular genetics. One interesting area of my postdoctoral studies was the determination of the structure-function properties of ZIC3 isoforms with respect to cardiovascular development and disease. ZIC3 is a transcription factor protein that is critical for proper heart and body development. Mutations within nuclear localization signal (NLS) domains of the Zic3 gene sequence result in improper cellular trafficking of the protein. Using both molecular and bioinformatics techniques I had discovered that multiple isoforms of ZIC3 gene exist and are expressed in embryonic and adult tissues.
From 2008-2012 I was Assistant Professor of Biology at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, USA, where I began getting involved in providing research opportunities for undergraduate students through the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP). The GEP is a collaborative project designed to allow students to participate in genomics and bioinformatics research. Here at UFV, my students are currently performing gene annotation in different species of Drosophila. The scientific problem being investigated is how to distinguish between heterochromatic and euchromatic domains based on DNA sequence organization and comparative genomics. We compare our results with data generated from the other Drosophila species. We also want to look for potential regulatory elements, in particular noting similarities among the 5’- upstream regions of dot chromosome genes, based on the hypothesis that genes that function within a heterochromatic environment might exhibit special characteristics. The data generated will tell help us learn more about the relationship between DNA sequence organization, chromatin packaging, and gene regulation. Further information about the GEP may be found at http://gep.wustl.edu/.