Current Projects in the Olson Lab

I am currently recruiting students and post-docs for projects in the general areas listed below. I greatly value trainee initiated projects. If you have an idea for a project that fits within the general theme of my laboratory, please contact me to discuss opportunities in my laboratory.

1. Sequencing the genomes of key Volvocales (Volvocales genome project home)

My laboratory is leading a collaborative effort to sequence the genomes of several key volvocales species. Currently the Department of Energy's JGI has sponsored the sequencing the genomes of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Volvox carteri, which represent the most extreme forms of evolutionary progression from unicellularity (Chlamydomonas) to differentiated multicellular (Volvox).

We have complete the genome of Gonium pectorale and are submitting a paper describing its genome.

The genome of Pleodorina starii has undergone initial assembly and analysis. We are awaiting transcriptome data to call gene models.

The genomes of Eudorina and Tetrabaena are starting production.

The following principal investigators are co-PIs on this effort

2. Molecular genetics of multicellularity

My laboratory is using genetic approaches toward understanding the molecular genetic basis of multicellular evolution. A variety classical and modern approaches are being used to tackle this problem.

3. Cell cycle evolution

One of the key questions my laboratory is addressing is how has the cell cycle evolved to keep cells together after mitosis and allow their differentiation? Chlamydomonas is surprisingly similar to metazoans in that its cell cycle is regulated by homologs of the retinoblastoma (RB) tumor suppressor pathway. Our current aim is to understand how RB control of the cell cycle has evolved to allow multicellular evolution.