Dr. Michael Carson | Biological Sciences | Bridgewater State University

Dr. Michael Carson | Biological Sciences | Bridgewater State University


♫ [upbeat music] ♫ My name is Dr. Michael Carson and I teach
the genetics class. I teach both lectures and laboratories. I teach two advanced classes that follow genetics. One is human genetics and in that class I
get into medical aspects of genetics. I recently started to teach a genomics class
which is a computational class and gets into elements of coding and using computers to
analyze biological data, largely genetic data as well. I have two basic research areas that I’m working
on. One is that I collaborate with my wife, Carol
“Krill”Carson on collection of mola-mola, it’s called the ocean sunfish. She actually responds to stranded or dead
animals, collects muscle tissue, and from that muscle tissue I do DNA fingerprinting
analysis to learn more about the populations. We have those samples as a toolbox that we
can then isolate DNA from and look at particularly variable sites in the genetic material. The second area that I work on involves
human populations. We use the data to do DNA fingerprinting to
demonstrate how genetic-based ancestry tests work. The DNA fingerprinting relates to actual DNA
sequence data that is fully available, all three billion letters of the genetic code,
in databases that are available for free use. Those databases contain samples from many
individuals from all around the world, all sorts of populations, all continents. By using those individuals as comparitors,
we can actually do DNA ancestry testing, say of an unknown individual to see where they
fit in terms of their genetic similarities and differences from people. Usually the students that work with me have
gone through at least the sophomore-level cell biology classes and many of the students
are just starting genetics when they begin to work with me. In both the projects that I do some computational
analysis, it could even be working with files such as Excel files and in some cases it could be coding
projects. One of the computer languages that I do tend
to have students work with a little bit is the PYTHON computer language. So if you are interested in working in any
of the DNA-based projects that I have going in the lab, I do have one that is using field-based
specimens with the ocean sunfish and one with human population data that is available with
databases on the web, please reach out to me. You can find me in my office, find my office
hours and make an appointment, or just email me and we’ll talk more about these projects.

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