Christopher Shaffer

Biology Lecturer
BS in Chemistry, University of Washington
PhD in Genetics, Cornell University
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contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • CB 1137
  • One Brookings Drive
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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Research interests:

Genomic Analysis
Epigenetics and Chromatin Structure
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Courses taught:

Bio 191/192 Phage Hunters (Fall/Spring)
Bio 3100 R Workshop in Biology (Fall)
Bio 4342 Research Explorations in Genomics (Spring)
Bio 200 Independent research (Fall)

recent courses

AMPERSAND: Phage Hunters

A research-based laboratory class for freshmen. Students join a national experiment organized by HHMI, with the goal of isolating and characterizing bacteriophage viruses found in the soil in the St. Louis area. Laboratory work includes isolation and purification of your own phage, DNA isolation and restriction mapping, and EM characterization of your phage. Several WU phage are selected for genome sequencing over winter break, and are annotated in the spring in Bio 192, Phage Bioinformatics. Students who successfully isolate and annotate a phage may become co-authors on a scientific paper.

    Collaborative Phage Bioinformatics

    A research-based laboratory for those enrolled in Bio 2960, this class provides an opportunity to join a research team with the goal of genomic characterization of a locally isolated phage (a virus that infects a bacterial host). Similar to Bio 192, but using a condensed format and a larger team to tackle each phage. Lab work focuses on learning computer-based tools for genome analysis, followed by careful annotation of several genes from your phage and in-depth investigation of one gene.

      Research Explorations in Genomics

      A collaborative laboratory investigation of a problem in comparative genomics, utilizing a variety of bioinformatics tools to manage and investigate large data sets (currently including genomic sequences, gene predictions, sequence conservation, gene expression). In spring '18 the research problem involves improving the sequence of a region of the Drosophila eugracilis genome, and working with one of these sequences to examine patterns of genome organization, gene structure, and gene regulation.