College of Biological Sciences
The Springer lab uses genomic technologies such as high-throughput sequencing to study the molecular sources of phenotypic variation. Their research aims to understand how variation in gene expression levels or epigenetic modifications contributes to phenotypic differences in maize. They generate and utilize RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, WGBS, and other large datasets, including images of maize plants. Current projects include studies of the patterning and inheritance of DNA methylation, studying how variation combines in heterozygotes, monitoring how abiotic stress influences gene expression, and charactering structural variation in maize genomes. One current project is performing DNA methylation profiling and expression profiling for a set of over 100 diverse maize lines in order to associate epigenetic changes with altered gene expression levels or phenotypes. The researchers are also beginning to utilize high-throughput phenotyping approaches to document plant traits. MSI software and computer labs have been used to perform data analyses and visualization of complex datasets.