Department of Ecology & Evolution

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Nicholas W. VanKuren  

Nicholas W. VanKuren

Department of Ecology and Evolution
202 Zoology
1101 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637



2016 - Ph.D. in Genetics
The University of Chicago, Committee on Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology, Chicago ILĀ 
Thesis: The Evolution and Fitness Effects of Species-Specific Genes
Advisor: Manyuan Long

2010 - B.S. in Biology
Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ithaca NY
Thesis: Ribosomal RNA gene diversity, effective population size, and evolutionary longevity in asexual Glomeromycota.
Advisor: Teresa E. Pawlowska


2017 - Present

Postdoctoral Scholar, The University of Chicago Department of Ecology & Evolution


Westerman*, E.L, N. VanKuren*, D. Massardo, A. Tenger-Trolander, W. Zhang, R. I. Hill, M. Perry, E. Bayala, K. Barr, N. Chamberlain, T. E. Douglas, N. Buerkle, S. Palmer & M. R. Kronforst. Aristaless controls butterfly wing color variation used in mimicry and mate choice. Current Biology, 2018. *Equal contribution.

VanKuren NW & Long M.2018. Gene duplicates resolving sexual conflict rapidly evolved essential gametogenesis Functions. doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0471-0.

Chakraborty M, VanKuren NW, Zhao R, Zhang X, Kaslow S, Emerson JJ. 2017. Hidden genetic variation shapes the structure of functional elements in Drosophila. Nature Genetics 50:20-25.

Toomer KH, Chen X, Naito M, Mondo SJ, den Bakker HC, VanKuren NW, Lekberg Y, Morton JB, Pawlowska TE. 2015. Molecular evolution patterns reveal life history features of mycoplasma-related endobacteria associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Molecular Ecology 24(13):3485-3500.

Gao G, Vibranovski MD, Zhang L, Zheng L, Liu M, Zhang YE, Li X, Zhang W, Fan Q, VanKuren NW, Long M, Wei L. 2014. A long term demasculinization of X-linked intergenic noncoding RNAs in Drosophila melanogaster. Genome Research 24(4):629-638.

VanKuren NW & Vibranovski MD. 2013. A novel dataset for sex-biased gene identification in Drosophila. Journal of Genomics 2: 64-67.

Long M, VanKuren NW, Chen S, & Vibranovski MD. 2013. New gene evolution: Little did we know. Annual Review of Genetics 47:325-351.

VanKuren NW, den Bakker HC, Morton JB, & Pawlowska TE. 2013. Ribosomal RNA gene diversity, effective population size, and evolutionary longevity in asexual Glomeromycota. Evolution 67(1):207-224.

Vibranovski MD, Zhang YE, Kemkemer C, VanKuren NW, Lopes HF, Karr TL, Long M. 2012. Segmental dataset and whole body expression data do not support the hypothesis that non-random movement is an intrinsic property of Drosophila retrogenes. BMC Evolutionary Biology 12, 169.

den Bakker HC*, VanKuren NW*, Morton JB, & Pawlowska TE. 2010. Clonality and recombination in the life history of an asexual arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus. Molecular Biology and Evolution 27(11):2474-2486. *Contributed equally.

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