Associate Professor of Systems Biology
Springer Lab website
Faculty Assistant: Jennie Epp
The Springer lab is interested in how evolution shapes and constrains how organisms respond to their environment. They analyze cellular responses in several related yeast species using a combination of in vivo fluorescence, synthetic and genetic approaches, and numerical and analytical modeling.
Additionally, our research focuses on understanding the relationship between genotype and phenotype, with a special interest in how biochemistry, molecular design, and wiring can allow cells to process information from their environment and respond appropriately. By comparing similar pathways in related species and duplicated genes in the same species we can study the importance of quantitative features of pathways.
Why have 10% of yeast genes been preserved in duplicate? By swapping the promoters and coding regions of a number of duplicate genes and monitoring both transcription and fitness we will determine which quantitative features of duplicate genes are required.
Does over-expressing a protein increase the total protein abundance in a cell or decrease the expression of every other protein? How much can a protein level be varied before we observe phenotypic/fitness costs? How similar are environmental responses in related yeast species? How easy is it to evolve quantitative features of signaling pathways? Where does most of the functionally relevant evolution happen: mRNA abundance, protein level, post-translation modification, etc.? To address these and other related questions, we are focusing on cellular homeostasis, beginning with pH homeostasis. We mainly use fluorescence read-outs in response to the environment in different wild-type and mutant backgrounds to build quantitative data sets appropriate for numerical and analytical approaches.