People in the lab...

Sergey Nuzhdin, Ph.D.

Principle Investigator


Contact Information:


  1. Office: RRI 304C

  2. Email: snuzhdin@usc.edu


Education:


  1. Ph.D. Genetics, Institute of Molecular Genetics, 1992

  2. B.S. (Honorary) Biophysics, Moscow State University, 1989


Research Interests:


My main motivation is to be psyched about science and to have fun doing research. I like new topics, ideas, systems, and approaches. I like to think together with people in the lab and our collaborators and coming up with new directions. It might be about fly behavior or planaria population genetics, or mustard adaptation, or legume agriculture; as long as it is conceptual, innovative, and fun. My main motivation at this very moment is to marry molecular biology and evolution through predictive models. Understanding how metabolic reactions, cell signaling, and developmental pathways translate an organism’s genome into its phenotype is a grand challenge in biology.  Genome wide association studies (GWAS) statistically connect genotypes to phenotypes, without any recourse to known molecular interactions, whereas a molecular biology approach directly ties gene function to phenotype through gene regulatory networks (GRNs).  Using natural variation in allele-specific expression, GWAS and GRN approaches can be merged into a single framework via Structural Equation Modeling (SEM-GRN).  This approach leverages the myriad of polymorphisms in natural populations to elucidate and quantitate the molecular pathways that underlie phenotypic variation.  This framework can be used to evaluate GRN consistency across genotypes, environments or sexes, to identify the differences in GRNs between species, and to annotate GRNs de novo in non-model organisms.