Spencer Koury, Ph.D.
Genetic architecture is the most important factor in predicting and understanding the evolution of any trait (maybe). Combining lab experiments and population genetics, Spencer studies genetic architecture as a dynamic interface of functional and evolutionary biology. His research consists of choosing fundamental processes in transmission genetics (recombination, crossover interference, chromosome segregation, etc.) and quantifying both natural and engineered genetic variation in model parameters describing the process. Understanding if, and how, segregating variation affects these fundamental processes is the necessary first step in understanding the genetic architecture, and therefore, the evolution of these crucial phenotypes.
Experimental Population Genetics, as described above, is a unique discipline that draws from a wide range of experimental methods (biochemical, genetic, and cellular) and also requires knowledge of evolutionary genetics (molecular evolution, population and quantitative genetics). In the past he has used the Drosophila model system to study topics such as Metabolic Control Analysis, Chromosomal Inversions, Genetic Dominance, Inbreeding, and Interspecific Hybridization. Since joining the Phadnis Lab at University of Utah, Spencer has been focusing on “Sex-Ratio” chromosomes in the Obscura group, and mechanisms of female chromosomal drive in Drosophila melanogaster.