Geffrey F. Stopper, Ph.D.
Area of Specialization: Evolutionary Biology, Developmental Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Genomics
Degrees and Certifications
The Rothberg Institute for Childhood Diseases, Guilford, CT
Post-Doctoral Research Scientist in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics
April 2007 to August 2008
Yale University, New Haven, CT
Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Yale University, New Haven, CT
M.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY
B.A. in Biology, Minor in Music
Affiliations: Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society, Council on Undergraduate Research
- BICC 103 The Human Community and Scientific Discovery
- BI 111/113 Concepts in Biology I Lecture, Laboratory, & Discussion
- BI 112/114 Concepts in Biology II Lecture, Laboratory, & Discussion
- BI 201/203 Organisms to Populations Lecture & Laboratory
- BI 225/226 Evolutionary Analysis Lecture & Laboratory
- BI 221 Genetics Laboratory
- BI 299 Topics in Evolution
- BI 390 Supervised Research
- BI 399 Senior Seminar
Research Interests and Grants
Dr. Stopper has broad research interests, but his research tends to focus on topics that fall within the field of evolutionary biology.
Developmental Evolution of Tetrapod Limbs
The main thread of Dr. Stopper’s research is in developmental evolutionary biology, specifically focusing on how changes in genes and the interactions between genes and gene products result in evolutionary change in the development of morphology. Currently Dr. Stopper most often approaches these questions within the context of the evolutionary transition from fin to limb, and the subsequent radiation into the diverse limb morphologies found in land animals. This means that work in his lab usually involves organismal biology in the form of raising animals and performing manipulations to developing embryos or larvae and observing the consequences of those manipulations. It also involves molecular work in the form of DNA & RNA isolation, PCR, RTPCR, and other related technologies.
Cleared and stained forelimbs of the Axolotl salamander Ambystoma mexicanum. The image includes a normal 4-fingered limb and three limbs with reduced digit numbers resulting from exposure to cyclopamine to block signaling of the limb morphogen protein, Sonic hedgehog (Stopper and Wagner, 2007).
Evolution in the Domestication of the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Dr. Stopper is also pursuing research questions related to the domestication and evolution of the yeast used in breadmaking, winemaking, and beer brewing – Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The domestication of this species appears to have involved many phenotypic changes from the wild ancestors, and has resulted in a great diversification to different types, not unlike the diversification to the regional and varied types found in more familiar domesticated species like cats, dogs, and agricultural animals. This research is carried out in collaboration with Sacred Heart’s Dr. Kirk Bartholomew. We are currently investigating 1) the relationships of domesticated yeast strains to better understand their historical pattern of domestication and 2) the phenotypic changes that occurred during yeast domestication and diversification, and the molecular changes underlying these phenotypic changes.
Fermenting flasks of beer during yeast selection experiments.
Awards and Fellowships
- Sacred Heart University Richard and Barbara Naclerio Faculty Scholars Program Grant Award (2013)
- Hartwick College Outstanding Young Alumnus Award (2009)
- The Company of Biologists “Development” Traveling Fellowship (2004)
- Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Grant in Aid of Research (2003)
- NIH, Yale University Developmental Biology Training Grant, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2000-2003)