Shawn Thomas

Funding Officer, Data Management & Analytics, Science on Tap Director (2021-2023)

Graduate Student, Department of Biological Sciences

Polyploidy is when an organism possesses multiple complete sets of DNA content or genomes. The evolutionary history of plants is riddled with these polyploid or whole genome duplication events. However, the polyploid state is not stable, and over evolutionary time the genome returns to a “normal” singular state. My research investigates clues such as retained duplicated regions of DNA and gene order which can give us insights into the timing and placement of ancient polyploidy and the development of novel traits to deal with stresses like drought and disease.

My ultimate career goal is to become a professor at a research institution with my own lab. My research will focus on analyzing DNA sequences to elucidate patterns of plant evolution and utilize those insights to inform the creation stress tolerant crops and conservation of biodiversity.

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