April/May 2015 A&S Researcher of the Month
Dr. Matthew Brown, assistant professor of biology in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Dr. Matthew Brown specializes in the evolutionary history and biology of microbial eukaryotes (protists). Brown heads the Evolutionary Protistology Laboratory in Harned Hall, home of MSU's Department of Biological Sciences. The lab is most interested in understanding how complexity in simple, single-celled, amoeboid microbes emerged. His lab is developing model systems to understand the genomic and developmental basis of these fascinating, but vastly understudied organisms. Additionally, Brown's lab focuses on using and developing cutting-edge DNA sequencing methods and bioinformatic techniques to better address these questions. Work in his lab involves numerous international collaborations with experts in Brazil, Canada, England, Japan, Spain, and Russia as well as other colleagues in the U.S.
A recent research highlight is a newly discovered genus and species of amoeba (Ptolemeba bulliensis) found on Mississippi State University's campus and named after the first "Bully" (http://msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6687). Brown's current work is focused on understanding the genomic and developmental complexity in Amoebozoa, which is the group of microbes most closely related to the animals and fungi. Brown's laboratory is using genomic-level surveys and developmental transcriptomics to examine commonalities among the various organisms within the group.
Brown's research on the evolutionary history of Amoebozoa is funded through an initiation grant from the College of Arts & Sciences Henry Family Research Fund and was recently recommended for funding by the Division of Environmental Biology, Systematics and Biodiversity Science Cluster at the National Science Foundation. Brown was recently named as the 2015 College of Arts & Sciences Researcher in the Natural and Physical Sciences.