Most heritable phenotypes are multigenic traits. Identifying the multiple genetic loci responsible for a complex phenotype and characterizing the interactions between these genetic loci have been experimentally and computationally challenging job for biologists. However, recent advances in statistical analysis tools, increased computational power, and the publicly available Neurospora crassa genome sequence, allow us to characterize these complex biological phenomena at both the genomic and molecular levels.

Many eukaryotic biological problems have been explored in the haploid eukaryotic model system N. crassa using genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and genomic tools. Because of its relative simplicity and the rich knowledge that has accumulated over many years, Neurospora is an excellent model system for studying complex biological phenomena.

Circadian Rhythms

A half-century of Neurospora circadian clock research have contributed significantly to our understanding of the molecular structure of the circadian oscillators in higher organisms, including humans. However it has been difficult to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the circadian clock works due to its complex nature and technical obstacles.

Principle Investigator

Kwangwon Lee

Natural Variation of Circadian Clock

The long-term goal of my laboratory is to understand how complex circadian rhythm behavior is controlled at the molecular level.

Research Summary

Koritala BSC, and Lee K. 2017. Chapter One – Natural Variation of the Circadian Clock in Neurospora. In Advances in Genetics, SF Goodwin, ed, pp 1-37, Academic Press.

Phase of Entrainment

Most of organisms on earth have been evolved in cycling environment. The fascinating question that we still don’t know is how the biological system that are selected in cyclic conditions has a property of sustainable 24 hour rhythm in constant condition.

Lee, K., Shiva Kumar, P., McQuade, S., Lee, J.Y., Park, S., An, Z., and Piccoli, B. 2017. Experimental and Mathematical Analyses Relating Circadian Period and Phase of Entrainment in Neurospora crassa. J Biol Rhythms, 748730417738611.

Melatonin Signal Pathways

Melatonin is an ancient molecule and its signal pathways has been conserved in a long evolutionary time scale.

Research Summary

Evolution of Transcriptional Network in Carbon Metabolism

Ph.D. Student
Joshua Waters

Research Summary

Waters, J.C., Nixon, A., Dwyer, M., Biffinger, J.C., and Lee, K. 2017. Developing elite Neurospora crassa strains for cellulosic ethanol production using fungal breeding. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology 44, 1137-1144



Quantitative Traits and Evolution

Undergraduate Researcher
Morgan Dwyer

Research Summary