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Geoff Findlay

Associate Professor of Biology
Office: O'Neil 107, phone: 508-793-2655
Lab: O'Neil 105

B.A. in biology, Carleton College, 2005
Ph.D. in genome sciences, University of Washington, 2009
postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology and genetics, Wolfner Lab, Cornell University, 2010-2013

Research interests:

I have been interested in the function and evolution of reproductive proteins ever since I did undergraduate research in this area during my summer vacations from college.  This topic is fascinating to me because of a fundamental paradox: reproductive proteins must function properly in order for an organism to enjoy maximal fitness, yet many such proteins evolve remarkably rapidly between even the most closely related of species.  In fact, reproductive proteins are among the fastest evolving in the genome -- just like proteins involved in immune recognition.  How can certain reproductive proteins change so quickly and maintain their essential functions?  Why do other reproductive proteins evolve more typically (i.e., slowly)?

I have been investigating these question in a variety of systems, including the abalone, the house mouse and the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.  My current work focuses on Drosophila, and my students and I are investigating two related questions.  First, we are studying how reproductive proteins from males and females interact and coevolve with one another to cause dramatic changes in female behavior after mating.  Second, we are interested in the evolution of the sperm proteome.  Males of every Drosophila species must make functional sperm, yet the specific proteins that are required for functional sperm can change rapidly from one species to another.  We are investigating how the processes of gene duplication and de novo gene evolution create new genes that then become essential for spermatogenesis or sperm function.  For more information about these projects, please see our Research page.


I am currently teaching Bio 262: Genetic Analysis, the non-lab version of genetics for Biology majors, and Bio 114: Human Genetics, a course for non-science majors.  Other classes I teach include Genetics with lab, Intro to Cell and Molecular Biology, and an upper-level seminar on Genomics.  I am scheduled to be on sabbatical in the 2019-20 academic year.


Our lab is currently funded by an NSF CAREER award, "Functional and evolutionary analysis of de novo evolved genes in Drosophila male reproduction" (award #1652013).  Amount: $780,902 over five years (2017-2021).

Previous Funding:

Subcontractor for NIH R01, “Actions of seminal proteins in mated Drosophila females” (2R01HD038921-15), awarded to M. Wolfner; amount of subcontract: $25,734.

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 2011-2013

3CPG Postdoc Fellowship, Cornell University, 2010-2011

For a list of my previous papers, please see the Publications page.


You can download my full CV by clicking the link below (last updated: 2/2109).
Geoffrey Findlay,
Feb 16, 2019, 8:15 PM