Office: 7 Harned Hall
B.S. Biology, University of Arkansas
Ph.D. Biology, University of Arkansas
Centre for Comparative Genomics and Evolutionary Bioinformatics, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University
Statement of Research Interests
The Brown laboratory focuses on the evolutionary biology of eukaryotes using microbes (protists) to better resolve the overall tree of Life. Our lab is most interested in the evolutionary trajectory leading to multicellularity. The multicellular world is far more diverse than just the animals, plants, and fungi that we notice everyday. Brown’s research has shown that the tendency towards multicellularity is rampant across the breadth of the tree of Life. In particular, we are interested in the cellular slime molds, which is a type of organism that exists as a single cell (usually an amoeba) in the environment, were it feeds on bacteria or yeast cells. However, when these cells are faced with a hardship, like starvation, they signal to other cells in the vicinity to work together to form an emergent structure. Our research has shown that this type of emergent behavior has evolved at least seven times in the history of eukaryotes. We are now using comparative genomics and development transcriptomics to better understand how these organisms converged onto a similar mode of multicellularity. The Brown lab is also interested in recovering better resolution at the base of tree of Life where rapid evolutionary diversification occurred leading to the major groups of eukaryotes that we recognize today. We are utilizing a diverse set of approaches from classical protistological techniques to next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and phylogenomics.
Recent Peer-reviewed Publications
Geisen S, Mitchell EAD, Wilkinson DM, Adl S, Bonkowski M, Brown MW, Fiore-Donno AM, Heger TJ, Jassey VEJ, Krashevska V, Lahr DJG, Marcisz K, Mulot M, Payne R, Singer D, Anderson OR, Charman DJ, Ekelund F, Griffiths BS, Rønn R, Smirnov A, Bass D, Belbahri L, Berney C, Blandenier Q, Chatzinotas A, Clarholm M, Dunthorn M, Feest A, Fernandez-Parra LD, Foissner W, Fournier B, Gentekaki E, Hajek M, Helder J, Jousset A, Koller R, Kumar S, La Terza A, Lamentowicz M, Mazei Y, Santos SS, Seppey CVW, Spiegel FW, Walochnik J, Winding A, Lara E. 2017, In Press. Soil protistology rebooted: 30 fundamental questions to start with. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. DOI 10.1016/j.soilbio.2017.04.001
Spiegel FW, Shadwick L, Brown MW, Nderitu G, Aguliar M, Shadwick JDL. 2017. Protosteloid Amoebozoa (Protosteliids, Protosporangiida, Cavostellida, Schizoplasmodiida, Fractoviteliida, and sporocarpic members of Vanellida, Centramoebida, and Pellitida). In Archibald, Simpson, Slamovits (Eds.) Handbook of the Protists (Second Edition of the Handbook of Protoctista by Margulis et al.). Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-32669-6_12-1
Tice AK, Shadwick LL, Fiore-Donno AM, Geisen S, Kang S, Schuler GA+, Spiegel FW, Wilkinson K, Bonkowski M, Dumack K, Lahr DJG, Voelcker E, Clauß S, Zhang J, Brown MW. 2016. Expansion of the molecular and morphological diversity of Acanthamoebidae (Centramoebida, Amoebozoa) and identification of a novel life cycle type within the group. Biology Direct. 11:69.
Panek T, Simpson AGB, Brown MW, Dyer BD. 2016. Heterolobosea. In Archibald, Simpson, Slamovits (Eds.) Handbook of the Protists (Second Edition of the Handbook of Protoctista by Margulis et al.). Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-32669-6_10-1
Hofstatter P, Tice AK, Kang S, Brown MW*, Lahr DJG*. 2016. Evolution of bacterial recombinase A (recA) in eukaryotes explained by addition of genomic data of key microbial lineages. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 283: 20161453. *Both last authors are corresponding.
Heiss AA, Brown MW, Simpson AGB. 2016. Apusomonadida. In Archibald, Simpson, Slamovits (Eds.) Handbook of the Protists (Second Edition of the Handbook of Protoctista by Margulis et al.). Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-32669-6_15-1
Shadwick LL, Brown MW, Tice AK, Spiegel FW. 2016. A new amoeba with protosteloid fruiting: Luapeleamoeba hula n. g. n. sp. Acta Protozoologica. 55(3): 123-134.
Gawryluk RMR, Kamikawa R, Stairs CW, Silberman JD, Brown MW, Roger AJ. 2016. The earliest evolutionary stages of mitochondrial adaptation to low oxygen. Current Biology. 26(20): 2729–2738.
Harding T, Brown MW, Simpson AGB, Roger AJ. 2016. Osmoadaptative strategy and its molecular signature in obligately halophilic heterotrophic protists. Genome Biology and Evolution. 8(7): 2241-2258.
Hamann E, Gruber-Vodicka H, Kleiner M, Tegetmeyer HE, Riedel D, Littmann S, Chen J, Milucka J, Viehweger B, Becker KW, Dong X, Stairs CW, Hinrichs K, Brown MW, Roger AJ, Strous M. 2016. Environmental Breviatea harbour mutualistic Arcobacter epibionts. Nature. 534: 254-258.
Noguchi F, Tanifuji G, Brown MW, Fujikura K, Takishita K. 2016. Complex evolution of two types of cardiolipin synthase in the eukaryotic lineage stramenopiles. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 101: 133-141.
Walthall AC, Tice AK, Brown MW. 2016. A new species of Flamella (Amoebozoa, Variosea, Gracilipodida) isolated from a freshwater pool in southern Mississippi, USA. Acta Protozoologica. 55(2): 111-117.
Tice AK, Silberman JD, Walthall AC, Le KND, Spiegel FW, Brown MW. 2016. Sorodiplophrys stercorea: another novel lineage of sorocarpic multicellularity. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. 63(5): 623-628.
Bass D, Silberman JD, Brown MW, Pearce RA, Tice AK+, Jousset A, Geisen S, Hartikainen H. 2016. Coprophilic amoebae and flagellates, including Guttulinopsis, Rosculus and Helkesimastix, characterise a divergent and diverse rhizarian radiation and contribute to a large diversity of faecal-associated protists. Environmental Microbiology. 18(5): 1604-1619.
Pánek T, Zadrobílková E, Walker G, Brown MW, Gentekaki E, Hroudová M, Kang S, Roger AJ, Tice AK, Vlček C, Čepička I. 2016. First multigene analysis of Archamoebae (Amoebozoa: Conosa) robustly reveals its phylogeny and shows that Entamoebidae represents a deep lineage of the group. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 98: 41-51.