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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

2022-2023 Academic Year

Fall 2022

BIOL 216 Genetics w/Lab
A study of Mendelian genetics, linkage, and mutation. An introduction to basic DNA structure and function including replication, transcription, and translation. Laboratory exercises involve both classic and molecular approaches to genetic analysis utilizing prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: 131 & 132. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 132 and PSYC 125.

BCMB 560 Stu/Faculty Collaborative Rsch
Student/Faculty Collaborative Research allows a student to conduct original research in close partnership with faculty collaborator(s). The project should be designed as an investigation yielding novel results that contribute to the area of study. With the faculty collaborator(s), students will develop the project and participate in all aspects fo the reasearch. It is expected that the faculty member will work closely with the student for at least half of the time the student is pursuing the research. The final project must be presented to the faculty collaborator(s) no later than one week prior to the end of the evaluation period. The course will typically earn one half or one full course credit per semester.