John R Finnerty
I earned my PhD in the laboratory of Barbara Block, where I helped elucidate the evolution of warm-blooded fishes. As a post-doc in the lab of Mark Martindale, I conducted the first molecular studies on the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, and played a leading role in developing this inconspicuous salt marsh invertebrate into a laboratory model system. Since joining the faculty at Boston University, I have continued working on the genomic and developmental evolution of Nematostella, while expanding into comparative studies on related sea anemones and corals. Increasingly, my research is focused on how the genomic and developmental diversity of marine animals might impact their ability to survive in the face of a rapidly changing environment. In this effort, my lab has joined a larger fellowship of “Coral Whisiperers” dedicated to understanding coral resilience and promoting coral reef conservation. Since 2009, I have served as Director of the BU Marine Program, and in this role, I have continued to involve undergraduates in research. Over 20 BU undergraduates have co-authored scientific papers through their research in my lab, much of originating from projects begun during the BU Marine Semester, where I teach courses in Marine Genomics and Tropical Marine Invertebrates.