a

Matt Johnson

mattjohnson's picture
Postdoctoral Researcher
Chicago Botanic Garden

mjohnson at chicagobotanic dot org

I currently work with Norm Wickett as the lead bioinformatician on the Pleurocarpous Moss Tree of Life Project. We are attempting to resolve the evolutionary history of a group of mosses that underwent a rapid radiation 50 million years ago. Our project employs new genomics methods for cheaply sequencing DNA in non-model organisms. In order to reconstruct the relationships among moss species in this group, we develop bioinformatics pipelines to process the raw data into formats that can be used for different types of analysis. Often, the end goal is not the evolutionary relationships themselves (the phylogenetic tree), but instead how the phylogenetic tree can be used to understand how genes and genomes evolve. For example, in one recent project we used the phylogenetic tree of mosses to understand how gene families were evolving. We discovered that a large percentage of gene families expanded in size associated with the rapid radiation of pleurocarpous mosses.

REU projects in our lab will be focused on bioinformatics, genomics, or phylogenetics. Students will learn to use computational biology tools and develop programming skills. No prior programming experience is necessary!


Projects
Analyses of large-scale datasets in diatoms, an essential group of photosynthetic organisms. (2017)

The Wickett lab invites interested undergraduates to apply for an REU in computational bioinformatics and phylogenomics. We are currently investigating the nearly 200 million year history of diatoms, a fascinating group of unicellular organisms that number between 100-200,000 species, and account for around 1/5th of global photosynthesis. Our lab primarily utilizes cutting edge software for...


Analyses of large-scale datasets in diatoms, an essential group of photosynthetic organisms. (2016)

Key words: Evolution, Genetics, Phylogenomics, Next Generation Sequencing


The Wickett lab invites interested undergraduates to apply for an REU in computational bioinformatics and phylogenomics. We are currently investigating the nearly 200 million year history of diatoms, a fascinating group of unicellular organisms that number between 100-200,000 species, and likely account for 1/5th...