Dr. Claire Burns is an assistant professor in the Biology Department. Teaching areas include Molecular Biology (BIO311), Genomics (BIO317) and Experimental Biology (BIO412), as well as a non-majors science course on Fungi (‘Shrooms; BIO100).
Genomics is a growing area of scientific study, and concerns the study of organisms’ whole genomes and related processes. The human genome was completed in 2003, having cost billions of dollars, and taken over a decade to complete. Currently (2011), genomes of many organisms can be completed within a day and cost less than $1000 to complete. Increasing numbers of completed genomes of different species and different individuals within a species (such as over one thousand human genomes) are now allowing us to answer questions about evolution and disease that would previously have been impossible.
Dr. Burns is British, and earned both her degrees in the United Kingdom. She did post-doctoral research in Ireland and in Bloomington, Indiana, before joining W&J. Her research background is in fungal genetics, and Dr. Burns currently uses genomic and genetic techniques in the mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea to examine meiosis, the process that leads to sexual cell development. Dr. Burns hopes to expand her research to survey wild mushroom species at the Abernathy Field Station.