Laura A. Katz

Elsie Damon Simonds Professor of Biological Sciences

Laura Katz

Contact & Office Hours

Burton Hall 201



Ph.D., Cornell University

A.B., Harvard College


Research Interests

Work in the Katz lab aims to elucidate principles of eukaryotic evolution through phylogenetic reconstruction, community sampling and analyses of genome evolution. The bulk of eukaryotic diversity is microbial, with plants, animals and fungi representing only three of some 60–200 lineages of eukaryotes. Many of these microbial lineages are understudied, yet the limited data available suggest the eukaryotic microbes challenge established principles in biology. We are currently focusing on four aspects of the evolution of eukaryotic microbes:

  1. Assembling the Eukaryotic Tree of Life through Analyses of Eukaryotic Microbes
  2. Phylogeography of Coastal Choreotrich and Oligotrich Ciliates
  3. Molecular Systematics of Ciliates
  4. Genome Evolution in Ciliates

Representative Publications

* = undergraduate co-author

Maurer-Alcala XX, Yan Y, * Pilling O, Knight R, Katz LA. 2018. Twisted Tales: Insights into Genome Diversity of Ciliates Using Single-Cell 'omics. Genome Biol Evol. 10(8):1927-1939

*Sisson, C., *Gulla-Devaney, B., Katz, L. A., & Grattepanche, J. D. (2018). Seed bank and seasonal patterns of the eukaryotic SAR (Stramenopila, Alveolata and Rhizaria) clade in a New England vernal pool  Journal of Plankton Research, 40(4), 376-390.

Ceron-Romero MA, *Nwaka E, *Owoade Z, Katz LA. 2018. PhyloChromoMap, a Tool for Mapping Phylogenomic History along Chromosomes, Reveals the Dynamic Nature of Karyotype Evolution in Plasmodium falciparum. Genome Biol Evol 10:553-561.

Grattepanche JD, Walker LM, Ott BM, Paim Pinto DL, Delwiche CF, Lane CE, Katz LA. 2018. Microbial diversity in the eukaryotic SAR Clade: Illuminating the darkness between morphology and molecular data. BioEssays 40:e1700198.

Maurer-Alcala XX, Knight R, Katz LA. 2018. Exploration of the germline genome of the ciliate Chilodonella uncinata through single-cell omics (transcriptomics and genomics). MBio 9.

*Wancura MM, Yan Y, Katz LA, Maurer-Alcalá XX. 2018. Nuclear features of the heterotrich ciliate Blepharisma americanum: genomic amplification, life cycle, and nuclear inclusion. J Eukaryot Microbiol 65:4-11.

*Badger M, Tucker SJ, Grattepanche JD, Katz LA. 2017. Rapid turnover of ciliate community members in New England tide pools. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 80:43-54.

*Pilling OA, *Rogers AJ, *Gulla-Devaney B, Katz LA. 2017. Insights into transgenerational epigenetics from studies of ciliates. Eur J Protistol 61:366-375.

Tucker SJ, McManus GB, Katz LA, Grattepanche JD. 2017. Distribution of abundant and active planktonic ciliates in coastal and slope waters off New England. Front Microbiol 8:2178.

Yan Y, *Rogers AJ, Gao F, Katz LA. 2017. Unusual features of non-dividing somatic macronuclei in the ciliate class Karyorelictea. Eur J Protistol 61:399-408

Katz LA, *Aloisio KM, Horton NJ, Ly M, Pruss S, Queeney K, Rowen C, DiBartolo PM. 2017. A Program Aimed toward Inclusive Excellence for Underrepresented Undergraduate Women in the Sciences. CBE Life Sci Educ 16.

See the full list of publications.