Texas Tech Research Team:


Robert J. Baker

Director and Curator of Mammals and Genetic Resources, Natural Science Research Laboratory, Museum of TTU
Horn Professor, Genome Organization, Chromosome Evolution, and Mammalogy, Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University


NSRL Webpage

Biology Webpage


Ronald K. Chesser

Professor- Behavioral Ecology, Population Dynamics and Evolution of Social Systems
Director- Center for Environmental Radiation Studies
Director- Interdisciplinary Program in Biological Informatics


Biology Webpage


Brenda E. Rodgers

Assistant Professor


Biology Webpage


Carleton J. Phillips

Professor of Biological Sciences


Biology Webpage


Heather N. Meeks
Research Assistant

Ph.D. student, Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University
B.S., Biology, Texas Tech University, 2002

My Ph.D. work has a dual focus, although the overarching theme is the evaluation of biological effects associated with radiation exposure.  One part of my dissertation work involves the study of native bank voles from Chernobyl, Ukraine.  Specifically, I am employing a variety of molecular markers (including both mitochondrial and nuclear markers) to examine populations residing in radioactively contaminated and reference regions of Ukraine, for the purpose of determining the genetic consequences that may have resulted from multigenerational exposure to chronic, low-dose radiation.  This work is part of a long-term project in Chernobyl spearheaded by Drs. Baker and Chesser at Texas Tech University.  The other major facet of my research is a laboratory study, for which I established a colony of inbred laboratory mice using the highly radiosensitive BALB/c strain.  Males were acutely irradiated with γ-radiation and then bred with unirradiated females, so that any mutations to the germline would be fixed in the somatic cells of resultant offspring.  The colony was subsequently bred through two more generations.  I am evaluating changes in the number and patterns of AFLPs (Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms) in each generation to determine whether (1) genetic changes in the offspring associated with paternal radiation exposure are detectable using the AFLP method; (2) there is evidence of multigenerational genomic instability, and (3) changes in AFLP patterns reflect the differences, detected in the first two generations of breeding, in male and female reproductive indices.

Past Members of the Chernobyl Team/TTU


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