MSU Electric Fish Lab


Principal InvestigatorPI


Assistant Professor
Room 138 Giltner Hall
Department of Integrative Biology
Michigan State University

517-884-7756 (office)

I completed my postdoctoral research in July, 2013 working in the evolutionary genetics laboratory of Sean Mullen at Boston University, where I studied the genetic basis of mimetic wing patterns in Limenitis and Heliconius butterflies.  I received my Ph.D. in July 2011, working with Carl Hopkins and David Deitcher at Cornell University.  Here, I studied the evolution of signal form and electric organ morphology among the Mormyrid electric fishes of Africa in the genus Paramormyrops, which  have undergone explosive speciation in West Central Africa (Cameroon, Gabon, and Congo). My research has involved the study of a novel vertebrate tissue, the electric organ.  Electric organs have evolved independently in several lineages of fish, and derive (almost) always from skeletal muscle during early larval development.  My thesis projects concerned (1) transcriptional differences between skeletal muscle and electric organ and (2) how evolutionary processes may act upon electric organs (and their transcriptomes) to produce novel signals.

I enjoy thinking broadly about biology, from developmental regulation within tissues to interactions between populations.  To accomplish my research, I employ a variety of approaches in my studies- DNA genotyping, transcriptomics, immunohistochemistry, digital signal analysis, and field studies.  More recently, I have begun utilizing next-generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools.

Jason's papers