Title: Associate Professor
Area of Study: Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Genomics
Office: Howell S202
Address: Department of Biology
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858
I have broad interests in comparative and evolutionary genomics, bioinformatics, and plant evolution.
Much of my current research focuses on understanding the role of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in eukaryotic evolution. HGT is the process of genetic changes across the boundaries of species. In prokaryotes, acquisition of foreign genes from other organisms is considered as the major means to gain novel genes and, therefore, beneficial phenotypes to live in previously unexplored niches. HGT also contributes significantly to the spread of antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity in bacteria. The scale and importance of HGT in eukaryotic evolution remain less clear. We are currently performing genome analyses to understand how HGT might have affected the origin and diversification of major eukaryotic lineages.
We are seeking graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in related research areas.
Selected Recent Publications:
Soucy, S. M., J. Huang, and J. P. Gogarten. 2015. Horizontal gene transfer: building the web of life. Nature Reviews Genetics 16:742-782.
Yue, J., X. Hu, and J. Huang. 2014. Origin of plant auxin biosynthesis.Trends in Plant Science 19:764-770.
Stiller, J. W., J. Schreiber, J. Yue, H. Guo, Q. Ding, and J. Huang. 2014. The evolution of photosynthesis in chromist algae through serial endosymbioses. Nature Communications 5:5764.
Huang, J. 2013. Horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotes: the weak-link model. BioEssays 35:868-875.
Yue, J., X. Hu, H. Sun, Y. Yang, and J. Huang. 2012. Widespread impact of horizontal gene transfer on plant colonization of land. Nature Communications 3:1152.
Yang, Z. and J. Huang. 2011. De novo origin of new genes with introns in Plasmodium vivax. FEBS Letter 585:641-644.
Sun, G., Z. Yang, T. Kosch, K. Summers, and J. Huang. 2011. Evidence for acquisition of virulence factors in pathogenic chytrids. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11:195.
Sun, G., Z. Yang, A. Iswar, and J. Huang. 2010. Algal genes in the closest relatives of animals. Molecular Biology and Evolution 24:587-595.
Huang, J. and J. P. Gogarten. 2008. Concerted gene recruitment in early plant evolution. Genome Biology 9:R109.
Huang, J. and J. P. Gogarten. 2007. Did an ancient chlamydial endosymbiosis facilitate the establishment of primary plastids? Genome Biology 8: R99.
Huang, J. and J. P. Gogarten. 2006. Ancient horizontal gene transfer can benefit phylogenetic reconstruction. Trends in Genetics 22: 361-366.
Evolution of Microbial Pathogens
Evolution of Genes and Genomes
Taxonomy of Vascular Plants
Dongliang Chen, PhD student
Jonathan Caban, MS student