I earned my B.S. in Biology with Honors at Loyola University Chicago, including 2 years of undergraduate research in Dr. Jeffrey Doering’s lab focused on mapping heterochromatic regions on human chromosome 21 and its role in Down Syndrome. Then, I earned my Ph.D. in Human Genetics at The University of Chicago in Dr. Nancy Cox’s lab focused on using modeling to study the genetic architecture of the human genome and its role in causing common and complex human diseases. I completed a one-year post-doctoral position in Dr. Elliot Gershon’s lab at The University of Chicago focused on using computational methods to identify genes involved in psychiatric disorders.
My research lab is currently focusing on understanding the evolution of the insulin signaling pathway in the genus Drosophila. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Laura Reed at the University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa and the Genomics Education Partnership (www.thegep.org). Students use genome browsers, databases, and additional tools to annotate the coding sequence and promoter regions of newly sequenced genes in the pathway, and then make comparisons between species. Additional research projects using prokaryotic or eukaryotic organisms develop based upon student interest but are always in the fields of molecular genetics or genomics.
Publications from my research lab include the following (undergraduate authors in bold):
- Martinez M, Wachowski M, Zaragoza M, & Wittke-Thompson JK (2019) The presence of bla1, bla-SHV and bla-TEM in ampicillin resistant bacteria from agricultural soil samples. Bios 90(4): 257-262.
- Ortega M & Wittke-Thompson JK. (2014) Study of Thiomicrospira crunogena’s carbon concentrating mechanism through the random mutagenesis and characterization of its mutants. Bios 85(2): 111-116.
Selected presentations from my research lab include the following (undergraduate authors in bold):
- Laskowski L, Cook B, Wittke-Thompson JK (2020). Comparison of the coding sequence of raptor in 27 Drosophila Midwest Drosophila Conference, Indiana University Bloomington (virtual), IN.
- Rozwadowski N, Wittke-Thompson JK (2019). Annotation of a contig from Drosophila takahashii on chromosome 3L. Board of Trustees Meeting, University of St. Francis, IL.
- Milewski D, Wittke-Thompson JK (2019). DNA sequencing Actin 5c and CO1 genes in the genus Salticus to assess familial divergence. ACCA Student Symposium, Benedictine University, IL.
- Uraski R, Wittke-Thompson JK (2017). Genetic characterization of Orconectes rusticus in Joliet, Illinois using AFLPs. TriBeta Regional Meeting, Bradley University, IL.
- Pedone S, Wittke-Thompson JK (2016) The effect of oxidative stress on the transcription rate of cardiolipin synthase in yeast. USF Winter Science Symposium, University of St. Francis, IL.
- Kodron T, Wittke-Thompson JK (2015) Creation and characterization of phnE mutants in Thiomicrospira crunogena. ACCA Student Symposium, Concordia University, IL.
- Volkmer K, Wittke-Thompson JK (2014) Phosphonate pathway in Thiomicrospira crunogena. TriBeta Regional Meeting, St. Xavier University, IL.
- Ortega M, Wittke-Thompson JK (2013) Study of Thiomicrospira crunogena’s carbon concentrating mechanism through the random mutagenesis and characterization of its mutants. ACCA Student Symposium, Elmhurst College, IL.
- Pendleton C, Wittke-Thompson JK (2012) Population genetics of crayfish in three streams surrounding Joliet, IL. ACCA Student Symposium 2012, Elmhurst College, IL.