Chan Lab: The molecular and genomic basis of adaptation

Chan, Jones and Valenzano Labs (MPI Ageing/Cologne - not in picture) joint retreat on the doorstep to Austria (background mountains)


Lab news

Pitx1 paper at eLIFE

04.12.2018 - Blast from the past - new paper on mouse hind limb factor Pitx1. Thanks to the hard work by first author Abbey Thompson (PhD student, Kingsley Lab) and many others in the Kingsley Lab who kept digging at it! doi: Opens external link in new window10.7554/eLife.38555

Longshanks paper

19.08.2018 - Our paper on the genomics of selection response in the Longshanks mice, a collaboration with Campbell Rolian and Nick Barton, is now online at bioRxiv. doi: 10.1101/378711

HybridMiX paper out at PNAS!

21.03.2018 - Our first paper on HybridMiX is now online early at PNAS! Great work HybridMiX team! doi: 10.1073/pnas.1717474115

We are hiring!

21.03.2018 - We are hiring again! If you are: innovative, driven and talented scientists who's looking to do ground-breaking research at a world-class research institute that combines stem cell biology, systems biology and evolutionary biology, we have a position for you! Two positions at the Opens internal link in current windowStaff scientist or Opens internal link in current windowPostdoc levels are available. What are you waiting for? 


28.11.2014 - This just in: we have been awarded an ERC Starting Grant!!! With this funding we can launch our project HybridMiX to study gene regulatory network evolution and speciation[!] in mice by performing "in vitro" crosses on stem cells. Stay tuned!

Feature in NatureJobs

02.10.2014 - How do you staff a lab? It takes the right mix. Chris Woolston tries to find out and Frank gave his perspective for starting a lab at the FML. Read it here.

Paper in Nature

17.07.2014 - Our contribution to an innovative study of the genetic basis of ecological speciation in a classical "species pair" in sticklebacks appears in Nature! Read the Opens external link in new windowpaper
Image credit: Todd Hadfield

Research Focus

Organisms exhibit an enormous diversity of adaptations in accordance with their evolutionary niche. We want to understand how complex adaptations are encoded in the vertebrate genome. Using the house mouse as our model organism, we aim to uncover and connect molecular innovations to their phenotypic outcomes. In doing so, we link evolutionary adaptations from their molecular origins to whole organisms and populations.
In our group we combine a number of experimental systems to tackle this question.
Photo credit: Lutz Bünger
Photo credit: Lutz Bünger
Genes - Parallel evolution of gigantism in lab and wild mice
We investigate how response to selection for increased body weight in mice reshapes the gene regulatory network in the genome. Using long-term artificially selected mice for increased body weight and naturally evolved island gigantic mice, we compare and contrast various evolutionary strategies for tweaking this complex gene regulatory network.
Genomes - Population genomics of hybridization and adaptation
We also investigate how genomes reshapes itself on the fly in response to selection by tracking genomes during adaptation. We track the fates of individual gene variants and how it spreads in a population, such that an adaptive allele can rise to high frequency and produce evolutionary changes.
Montage from photos by Patrick Gries 
Montage from mammalian (and others) adaptations photos by Patrick Gries in Opens external link in new windowEvolution.
Species - Comparative genomics of mammalian adaptations
We investigate the nature of adaptive mutations at the molecular level, by taking advantage of advances in genomics and transgenic techniques. We will do so by exploring the diversity of newly available genomes to engineer mice to carry presumptive adaptive mutations and test how they may functionally produce adaptations.

Join the lab! Open positions available for exciting and cutting-edge Diploma, PhD and postdoctoral projects


We are grateful to the following funding sources for supporting our research.
We have also benefited from the generosity of the following sources for staff funding (both current and recent):