Courtney C. Babbitt
Associate Professor, Biology
Associate Professor, Commonwealth Honors College
B.A., Columbia University, 1999
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2005
Our research is in comparative and evolutionary genomics. We are interested in changes in gene regulation between species that impact the phenotype. In particular, we investigate the evolution of cis-regulatory elements, chromatin conformation, and and noncoding RNA at a genome-wide scale. We are also testing the function of specific rapidly evolving cis-regulatory regions using Massively Parallel Reporter Assays (MPRAs). We use iPSC derived cells to look at enhancer function in stem-cell derived neurons and astrocytes. Our current research addresses these essential questions as they relate to genetic and phenotypic differences between humans and non-human primates. We integrate both computational and experimental approaches to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the functional changes involved in regulatory evolution and how they contribute to phenotypic evolution.