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Courtney Babbitt

Assistant Professor

Research areas include Next-Generation Sequencing and Genomics (RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, DNase-Seq).

Current Research
We are currently examining the relative changes in transcript expression between populations and species using next-generation sequencing. We perform RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, and DNase-Seq (an assay of active chromatin) in a number of different systems, with a focus on humans. We use comparative genomics to understand the underlying genetic causes of human traits and disease susceptibilities. We also perform functional genomic assays in human transformed and iPSCs to understand how these changes effect networks of gene expression.

Learn more at www.bio.umass.edu/biology/babbitt/Site/Babbitt_Lab.html

Academic Background

  • BA Columbia University, 1999
  • PhD University of Chicago, 2005
Pizzollo, J. ^, Nielsen, W.J., Shibata, Y., Safi, A., Crawford, G.E., Wray, G.A., Babbitt, C.C.* (2018). Comparative genomic analysis of the response to a serum challenge in human and chimpanzee fibroblasts. Genome Biology and Evolution. 10(3):826–839.
Babbitt, C.C. *, Haygood, R., Nielsen, W., Wray, G.A. (2017). Gene expression and adaptive noncoding changes during human evolution. BMC Genomics; 18: 435-455.
Bauernfeind, A.L. & Babbitt, C.C. * (2017). The predictive nature of transcript expression levels on protein expression in adult human brain BMC Genomics; 18: 322.
Advani, Aw., Chen, Aw., Babbitt, C.C*. (2016). Human Fibroblasts Display A Differential Focal Adhesion Phenotype Relative to Chimpanzee. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. Mar 23;2016(1):110-6.
Bauernfeind, A.L., Soderblom, E.J., Turner, M.E., Moseley, M.A, Hof, P.R., Sherwood, C.C., Wray, G.A., Babbitt, C.C*. (2015). Differential gene and protein expression in the human and chimpanzee brain: a comparison using high throughput techniques. Genome Biology and Evolution 7(8):2276–2288.
Liu, S., Lorenzen, E.D., Fumagalli, M., Bo, L., Harris, K., Xiong, Z., Zhou, L., Korneliussen, T., Somel, M., Babbitt, C.C., Wray, G.A., Li, J., He, W., Wang, Z., Fu, W., Xiang, X., Morgan, C.C., Doherty, A., O’Connell, M.J., McInerney, J.O., Born, E.W., Dalen, L., Dietz, R., Orlando, L., Sonne, C., Zhang, G., Nielsen, R., Willerslev, E., Wang, J. (2014) Population Genomics Reveal Recent Speciation and Rapid Evolutionary Adaptation in Polar Bears. Cell 157(4): 785–794.
Garfield D.A., Runcie D.E., Babbitt C.C., Haygood R, Nielsen W.J., Wray, G.A. (2013) The impact of gene expression variation on the robustness and evolvability of a developmental gene regulatory network. PLoS Biology 11(10): e1001696.
Babbitt, C.C., Tung, J, Wray, G.A., Alberts, S.C. (2012). Changes in gene expression associated with reproductive maturation in wild female baboons. Genome Biology and Evolution 4(2): 102-109.
Shibata, Y., Sheffield, N., Fedrigo, O., Babbitt, C.C., Wortham, M., Tawari, A.K., London, D., Song, L., Lee, B., Iyer, V.R., Parker, S.C., Margulies, E.H., Wray, G.A., Furey, T.S., Crawford, G.E. (2012). Extensive evolutionary changes in regulatory element activity during human origins are closely associated with altered gene expression and positive selection. PLoS Genetics 8(6): e1002789.
Runcie, D.E., Garfield, D.A., Babbitt, C.C., Wygoda, J.A., Mukherjee, S., Wray, G.A. (2012). Genetics of temperature stress responses in a sea urchin gene regulatory network. Molecular Ecology: 21(18): 4547-4562.
Contact Info

Department Biology
Morrill 2, Room 330
611 North Pleasant Street
Amherst MA 01003

(413) 545-5574