Erich M Schwarz
Research Scientist in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell Univ.; Honorary Research Fellow in Veterinary Science, Univ. of Melbourne.
I use comparative nematode genomics and RNA-seq analysis to decipher both parasitic disease and fundamental biology. To identify genes that encode possible vaccine targets, I have sequenced and analyzed the genomes and transcriptomes of two major parasitic nematodes, and compared them both to one another and to related non-parasitic nematodes. To identify genes that enable males and females in a species to reproduce, I am currently comparing genomes of hermaphroditic Caenorhabditis species to genomes of closely related gonochoristic (male-female) species, and looking for gene families that have been partially or completely lost in self-fertilizing hermaphrodites. To identify gene functions relevant to core metazoan biology, I am identifying genes conserved between C. elegans and humans that are largely or completely uncharacterized ("conserved unknowns"), which my collaborators are testing for function in vivo.