Vice President for Research Chris Keane, Mike Kluzik, and Levi O’Loughlin meet with Alan Goodman in the Goodman Laboratory.

As part of the Office of Research’s emphasis on safety, Vice President for Research Chris Keane, along with Mike Kluzik, director of the Office of Research Assurances, toured the Goodman Laboratory, the Kelley Laboratory, and the Cornejo Laboratory in April.

VPR Keane and Kluzik have conducted several walk-through visits of individual WSU research laboratories throughout the academic year. These visits are not inspections, but rather an opportunity to positively engage WSU faculty, staff, and students regarding safety and identify means by which the Office of Research can better support the University’s safety efforts.

Research in the Goodman Laboratory focuses on the immune response to pathogenic infection. The lab uses invertebrate animal models, namely fruit flies, along with mathematical modeling and high-throughput computational analyses to further understand the cellular signaling pathways during infection. The complementary use of these techniques across multiple animal models guide researchers to better therapeutically intervene during autoimmune, microbial, and vector-borne disease.

VPR Chris Keane, Mike Kluzik and Levi O’Loughlin meet with Joanna Kelley and Omar Cornejo in the Kelley and Cornejo Laboratories.

Research in the Kelley Laboratory focuses on evolutionary genomics and adaptation to extreme environments. The lab is interested in understanding how populations diverge and adapt to the environments they encounter. To identify and characterize specific genes and pathways that underlie adaptive change, researchers combine statistical and genomic approaches with knowledge from organismal and ecological studies. Researcher’s work utilizes a range of technological and analytical methods for genomics. They also climb Mexican volcanoes and explore Caribbean Islands for exotic species that are specially adapted to their extreme environments. By correlating genetic changes to phenotypic outcomes using population genomics, researchers hope to link genomic changes to sources of selection.

The research in the Cornejo Laboratory focuses on understanding how pathogens and hosts have adapted to each other by using a multidisciplinary approach that combines computational biology, population genetic/genomic analyses, phylogenetics, simple mathematical modeling, and wet lab experiments. Developing a better understanding of the forces shaping the genetic architecture of organisms will have enormous implications on the design of strategies for the management of populations and species of interest. The lab uses genomic data to infer the historical demographics of populations and use these demographics to better understand how selection has shaped specific regions of the genome to contribute to species adaptations.