Welcome to the Lavrov Lab

We are a research group at the Iowa State University. Our main research interests are the evolution of major groups of animals and their genomes.
Our favorite animals are marine non-bilaterian taxa, including Porifera (sponges), Cnidaria (corals, jellyfishes), and Ctenophora (comb jellies). We are particularly interested in their mitochondrial biology and have characterized both their mitochondrial genomes and mitochondrial proteomes (the latter include more than one thousand proteins that are encoded in the nucleus, but function in mitochondria).

In our research we combine field work, bench work, and computational analysis. Specific project we currently work on include (see Research for more details):

  • understanding variation in the rates of mtDNA evolution among animals
  • mRNA editing in Calcaronean sponges, and
  • mitocondrial tRNA import.

We are located at Iowa State University, in the department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology). Students in our group come are involved in several interdepartmental graduate programs, including Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Genetics and Genomics, and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

We are looking for passionate new PhD students, Postdocs, and Master students to join the team (more info) !

We are grateful for funding from Iowa State University, Human Frontiers Science Program, and previous funding from the US National Science Foundation.


August 17, 2021

New paper "Multiple losses of MSH1, gain of mtMutS, and other changes in the MutS family of DNA repair proteins in animals" in Genome Biology and Evolution .

January 15, 2021

Mudith Ekanayake joins the lab as a Ph.D. student. Welcome, Mudith!

September 18, 2020

Mudith Ekanayake joins the lab as a rotation student. Welcome, Mudith!

March 6, 2020

Another paper in Mitochondrion! "Causes and consequences of mitochondrial proteome size-variation in animals": Mitochondrion 52:100-107.

February 3, 2020

Our new paper, "MMPdb and MitoPredictor: Tools for facilitating comparative analysis of animal mitochondrial proteomes" is published in Mitochondrion.

January 14, 2020

Dennis gave a talk at the Plant and Animal Genome XXVIII Conference

January 1, 2020

McKenzie Wishman joined the lab as a rotation student. Welcome, McKenzie!

December 20, 2019

Dennis gave a talk at a Special Symposium titled "Genome integrity and prions - impact on the evolution and human disease" at the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer, UNMC, NE.

November 5, 2019

Dennis presented a poster (partially in Spanish!) at the Congreso Latinoamericano de Ciencias del Mar 2019

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