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Michael Ayers

Michael Ayers

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Gallagher

The Elk River spill chemical MCHM provides a case study of an industrial chemical with little toxicological characterization prior to its unintended release into public waterways. My research uses the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae to explore the cellular effects caused by exposure to this chemical. I incorporate classical genetics tools with modern genomic approaches to better understand the perturbations of cellular pathways and networks affected by MCHM. Furthermore, my research sheds light on how genotypes can account for phenotypes such as resistance to toxic chemicals. As yeast share a significant gene and pathway homology with humans, my research provides dual outcomes by contributing to understanding of the dangers of a toxic spill chemical as well as fundamental knowledge of eukaryotic genetic and cellular networks. I plan to pursue a career in academic research in the field of genomics following completion of my PhD at WVU.

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