Comparative Genomics, Evolution, and the Architecture of Complex Traits

Welcome to the Cooper Lab!

In my lab, we are interested in using and combining '-omics' data to dissect the genetic basis of complex traits, especially those traits that lead to diversification among closely related individuals. Determining what changes in the genome contribute to divergence not only increases our understanding of evolutionary processes, but in crop systems, this knowledge can help plant breeders in their efforts to improve or create new varieties. We use a combination of whole genome/transcriptome comparisons along with association mapping and population genetics methods to explore different questions, and most recently we are beginning to look at the role of structural mutations in recent and ongoing diversification.

You can learn more about past projects and ongoing research by clicking the links below. You can also check out some highlights from our sweet sorghum work here. If you are interested in joining the lab or would like to find out more, please email me directly. If you are interested in applying to graduate school at UNC Charlotte, you can find more information here.

See Published Projects»


Liz Cooper, Ph.D | Asst. Professor
UNC Charlotte | Dept. of Bioinformatics and Genomics
North Carolina Research Campus
150 Research Campus Dr. - Ste. 3333
Kannapolis, NC 28081
P: (704) 687-2402

Current Research Projects:

Structural Variation Among Sorghums

Finding SNPs and structural variations between different populations and varieties of sorghum.

Variation in Iron Transporter Genes

Identifying the effects of mutations in iron-related genes on gene expression and downstream pathways.

Parallel Domestication Origins

Testing hypotheses of multiple vs. single evolutionary origins of new species and varieties.

Genomic Diversity in Wild Sorghum

Exploring levels of sequence diversity and Transposable Element (TE) content in wild sorghuhms native to Africa.

Local Adaptation in Culex Mosquitoes

Predicting climate variables driving adaptation and range expansion in disease carrying mosquito species.

Pitcher Plant Mosquito Genome

Assembly, annotation, and ortholog identification in the first reference genome for Wyeomyia smithii.