Andrew W. Thompson

Photo of Andrew W. Thompson
Andrew Thompson
Assistant Professor
(269) 387-5869
3155 Wood Hall, Mail Stop 5410
Mailing address: 
Department of Biological Sciences Western Michigan University 1903 W Michigan Ave Kalamazoo MI 49008-5410 USA
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Michigan State University, 2016-2022
  • Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, The George Washington University, 2010-2016
  • B.S. in Biology, Minor in Chemistry, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 2006-2009
Research interests: 
  • Comparative and Functional Genomics
  • Adaptation to Extreme Environments
  • Evolution of Fishes

Dr. Andrew Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University. Dr. Thompson is an evolutionary geneticist investigating genomic evolution of fishes. Specifically, his research attempts to understand the links between environment, evolution, and development of fishes living in extreme habitats. He integrates comparative genomics, chromatin dynamics, and functional genomic tools in an Eco-Evo-Devo framework, to understand the evolution of gene duplication, expression, and function in vertebrates.

Research in the Thompson Lab investigates the evolution of suspended animation, environmentally-cued hatching, and sex determination/differentiation using annual and non-annual killifishes (Cyprinodontiformes: Aplocheiloidei). Killifishes are emerging research models for evolution, development, behavior, cancer, developmental perturbations, and aging. This is because annual killifishes have dormant (diapausing) embryos that withstand seasonal habitat desiccation which results in death of the entire parental population. This annual life history includes the independent, convergent evolution of rapid aging and suspended animation among distantly related lineages of killifishes. The lab is using annual killifishes and their relatives as a model clade to explore the evolution of developmental phenotypes in extreme environments.

The Thompson Lab’s main killifish research model, the Rio Pearlfish, is native to seasonal pools in the coastal plains near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they complete two life cycles per year. This "bi-annual" killifish species represents an independent origin of annualism, different from other killifish models making Rio Pearlfish a powerful research organism to study convergent changes associated with dormancy and senescence in vertebrates.


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