My laboratory uses the mouse as an experimental genetic model to investigate factors that contribute to inter-individual differences in health and disease. Our current research activities include the identification and functional characterization of alleles contributing to cancer susceptibility, the function of the Erbb gene family in development and disease, and the role of genetic variation in response to environmental stimuli. To support these investigations, we also are developing new genetic tools to support mammalian systems genetic approaches to phenotypes with complex genetic and environmental etiologies. Cancer genetics: We are focusing on colorectal and breast cancer to identify environmental factors and genetic polymorphisms contributing to differential susceptibility to the development and progression of cancer. We are also developing approaches to exploit these factors to prevent or delay cancer as well as to identify new therapies. Epidermal growth factor receptor (Egfr): We are using mouse models with genetically engineered or spontaneous mutations to elucidate the biological role of Egfr and other member of the Erbb gene family in vivo. These studies have lead to new insights into the role of these genes in neuronal survival and behavior, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease. We are currently performing mechanistic studies to identify how the Erbb genes contribute to normal and abnormal phenotypes. Genetics of environmental response: Just as individuals differ in their genetic constitution and disease susceptibility, they also differ in their responses to exogenous stimuli. We are using mouse models to investigate responses to environmental factors like the enteric flora of the gastrointestinal tract and diet and toxicants like dioxin and trichloroethane. The goal of these studies is to identify how individual responses to environmental factors leads to differential disease susceptibilities. Systems genetics resources: We are leading a large international effort to develop and exploit a new mouse genetic resources that will support the integration of genetics into systems biological analyses at the whole animal level. These efforts are based upon the Collaborative Cross, which is a unique recombinant inbred population of mice that have randomly assorted the genetic polymorphisms present in the eight founder inbred strains.



  • Director, Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society, 2014-present
  • Distinguished Professor, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University, 2013-present
  • Distinguished Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, 2013-present
  • Director, Whole Systems Genomics Initiative, 2013-2014
  • Professor and Head, Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, 2008-2013
  • Assistant, Associate, Professor of Genetics, University of North Carolina, 2000-2008
  • Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University, 1996-2000


Honors and Awards

  • Tom and Jean McMullin Chair of Genetics, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, 2013-present
  • Society of Toxicology Perry J. Gehring Risk Assessment Award with Postdoctoral Fellow Michelle DeSimone, 2012
  • Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2011
  • National Institutes of Health College of CSR Reviewers, 2010-2012
  • Society of Toxicology award for Most Influential Paper Affecting the Science of Risk Assessment (Genome Research 19:1507-1515), 2010
  • Society of Toxicology Best Manuscript Award from the Occupational and Public Health Specialty Section with Postdoctoral Fellow Michele LaMerrill (American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 296:E203-210), 2009
  • UNC-Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical/Translational Research Award, 2005
  • Jefferson Pilot Scholar Award, 2004
  • V Foundation Scholar Award, 1998
  • March of Dimes Basil O’Conner Award. 1998
  • NIGMS Individual National Research Service Award, 1991-1993
  • Outstanding Graduate Award for Research, Texas A&M University, 1989
  • Young Investigator Travel Award from HGM10 to attend the 10th International Workshop on Human Gene Mapping, New Haven, CT, 1989
  • Fellowship to attend the International Summer School on the Molecular Genetics of Differentiation. Berlin, Germany, 1989
  • Graduate Student Travel Award from The Genetics Society of America to attend the XVIth International Congress of Genetics, Toronto, Canada, 1988
  • Faculty Auxiliary Graduate Award, Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine, 1987




ID Course Name Duration Start Date
BIMS 489 - 599Introduction to Bioinformatics2 HoursJanuary 31, 2023