FRI Computational Biology Stream


bioinformatics, computational biology, development, evolution, molecular biology, transcriptomics

our research

Our Research

In EvoDevOmics, we aim to identify how changes in expression of genes have generated the astonishing diversity of morphological, physiological, and behavioral traits on our planet. In this stream, students take a hands-on approach to learning EvoDevo concepts and bioinformatics and statistical analyses of ‘Omics-level data through student-led research focused on identifying transcriptomic and genomic mechanisms of phenotypic variation.


Our Strategy

The EvoDevOmics stream develops advanced bioinformatics and statistical analyses of ‘omics-level data. These high-demand workforce techniques can be used to ask a variety of biological questions and are transferable to various careers in science and computing. In addition, we focus on developing and practicing career readiness skills including written and oral communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

EvoDevOmics researchers focus on:

  • managing and manipulating data frames
  • next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis (e.g., differential expression analysis, machine learning, and clustering approaches)
  • data visualization
  • digital resource stewardship

Our Impact

Currently, we are focusing on variation in frog development. Frogs have diverse reproductive adaptations. Apart from the ancestral aquatic embryos, species have evolved behaviors and reproductive modes like nest building, parental care, and the brooding of embryos in skin pouches. These diverse environments challenge embryo development and are accommodated by changes in embryo genesis, egg size, and yolk abundance which influence the duration of development. However, the gene expression mechanisms enabling this diversification across species are unknown. In EvoDevOmics, we quantify and compare gene expression extracted from developing frog embryos across species that differ in reproductive adaptations.

Our Team

Profile image of Becca Young

Becca Young

  • FRI Research Educator, EvoDevOmics Stream
  • College of Natural Sciences
Profile image of Jeffrey M. Gross

Jeffrey M. Gross

  • Professor
  • Department Chair
  • Molecular Biosciences

Lorene Morrow Kelley Endowed Faculty Fellow


Course Credit
Research Outcomes

*undergraduate researcher

Conference presentations:

  • Young, R. L. and Romero-Carvajal, A. The transcriptional basis of embryonic diversification in frogs. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Austin, TX. 2023.
  • Lionts, M.*, Zhou, A.*; Zurita-Paredes, Romero-Carvajal, D. A., Young, R. L. 2023. Functional inference from transcriptomics in non-traditional models: A case study in amphibians. [poster-presentation] Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Austin, TX.
  • Reyna, N.*; Rodriguez-Santiago M, Boughman J.W., Hofmann H.A., Ålund M., and R.L. Young. 2023. Coming to one’s sense: Stickleback molecular processing and neuroanatomy vary across sensory environments. [poster-presentation] Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. Austin, TX.