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Michael Blouin in front of shrubbery

Michael Blouin

Professor
Department of Integrative Biology

Michael Blouin

Professor
Department of Integrative Biology

Background

Biography

Courses Taught BI 445, IB 545 : Evolution BI 311 : Genetics IB 511 : Integrative Biology Graduate Student Orientation BI 311H : Genetics (Honors)

Research

I have diverse interests in basic and applied evolutionary genetics. My lab currently has two main areas of research: (1) We study the transmission of schistosomiasis, a serious parasitic disease of humans in tropical regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The parasite is a trematode that uses aquatic snails as an obligatory intermediate host. We use genome-wide mapping methods to identify regions of the snail genome at which allelic variation controls resistance to infection by schistosomes. We are studying the function of genes we recently identified, and continuing to map new loci. Our goal is to understand the molecular interactions between snails and schistosomes, and use that information to find novel ways to break transmission of the parasite at the snail stage of the life cycle. This includes potentially using resistance genes to make snail populations in transmission zones unable to transmit the parasite. (2) We are studying the selection pressures in hatcheries that make hatchery fish become different from wild fish. This work follows our studies on steelhead trout, Onchorynchus mykiss, that showed even a single generation of hatchery culture causes detectable domestication and loss of fitness in the wild.

Research Area

Biomedical Science