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Nicolas Rohner

B.S., Biology, Friedrich-Alexander University
M.S., Genetics, Friedrich-Alexander University
Ph.D., Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

How do genotypes, the environment, and developmental processes lead to phenotypes?

Research Areas

Development and Regeneration, Evolutionary Biology, Systems Biology

Courses Taught

Evolution and Model Systems; Laboratory Rotation; Thesis Laboratory

Honors

2020

National Institutes of Health New Innovator Award

2018

Edward Mallinckrodt Foundation Grantee

Nicolas Rohner, Ph.D., a developmental biologist, joined the Stowers Institute in September, 2015 as an Associate Investigator.

Rohner earned a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in genetics at Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU) in Erlangen, Germany, in 2002. He earned his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in the lab of nobel laureate Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Ph.D. Rohner completed his postdoctoral training in the lab of developmental biologist Cliff Tabin, PhD, at Harvard Medical School, where he focused primarily on the genetics of the cavefish Astyanax mexicanus.

In the Rohner Lab, the team studies the Mexican cavefish – descendants of river fish swept into dark underground caves by floods hundreds of thousands of years ago. Rohner uses cavefish as an ideal model system in which to study adaptation and resilience. Due to the complete darkness in caves, cavefish rely entirely on outside food sources, brought in by seasonal flooding during the rainy season. As such, cavefish have evolved a feasting and fasting cycle, allowing them to store impressive amounts of body fat and starve for months with ease. The lab has developed a system to compare fish from the river to the fish who live in caves. It gives scientists a rare look at what happens when species adapt to extreme nutritional challenges.

Featured Publications

Genome-wide analysis of cis-regulatory changes in the metabolic adaptation of cavefish

Krishnan J, Seidel CW, Zhang N, Singh NP, VanCampen J, Peuss R, Xiong S, Kenzior A, Li H, Conaway JW, Rohner N. Nat Genet. 2022;54:684-693.

Image3C, a multimodal image-based and label independent integrative method for single-cell analysis

Accorsi A, Box AC, Peuss R, Wood C, Sanchez Alvarado A, Rohner N. eLife. 2021;10. doi: 10.7554/eLife.65372.

Adaptation to low parasite abundance affects immune investment and immunopathological responses of cavefish

Peuß R, Box AC, Chen S, Wang Y, Tsuchiya D, Persons JL, Kenzior A, Maldonado E, Krishnan J, Scharsack JP, Slaughter BD, Rohner N. Nat Ecol Evol. 2020;4:1416-1430.

Insulin resistance in cavefish as an adaptation to a nutrient-limited environment

Riddle MR, Aspiras AC, Gaudenz K, Peuss R, Sung JY, Martineau B, Peavey M, Box AC, Tabin JA, McGaugh S, Borowsky R, Tabin CJ, Rohner N. Nature. 2018;555:647-651. Authors Correction: Nature. 2020 Nov 13. pii: 10.1038/s41586-020-2953-x. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2953-x.

Cryptic variation in morphological evolution: HSP90 as a capacitor for loss of eyes in cavefish

Rohner N, Jarosz DF, Kowalko JE, Yoshizawa M, Jeffery WR, Borowsky RL, Lindquist S, Tabin CJ. Science.v2013;342:1372-1375.

Cryptic variation in morphological evolution: HSP90 as a capacitor for loss of eyes in cavefish

Rohner N, Jarosz DF, Kowalko JE, Yoshizawa M, Jeffery WR, Borowsky RL, Lindquist S, Tabin CJ. Science.v2013;342:1372-1375.

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