Faculty Profile

Dana Somers

Associate Professor of Biology (2013)

Contact Information


James Hall - Rector Complex Room 2219


I teach classes in genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and microbial fermentation. Research in my lab focuses on microbial genome evolution, particularly as it relates to understanding microbial ecology and biodiversity. We use functional, ecological, and evolutionary genomics to address these basic questions. In one project, my students and I are seeking to understand how climate-mediated changes in lake habitat can influence microbial communities by examining microbial diversity in Arctic lakes, a region where climate change has been particularly rapid. In another project, we are observing the evolutionary dynamics of laboratory domestication in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the related species S. paradoxus. Finally, a third project seeks to expand our understanding of yeast biodiversity by discovering and characterizing novel species of yeasts.


  • B.A., Franklin and Marshall College, 2002
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007

2024-2025 Academic Year

Fall 2024

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

BIOL 216 Genetics w/Lab
Permission of Instructor Required.