New CELL Faculty Member Profile – Steven Plotkin

Dr. Plotkin grew up in the U.S. in the small town of Scranton, Pennsylvania (home of the TV show The Office, and of Joe Biden). He completed his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying spin-glass models of proteins in the lab of Peter Wolynes, and he was an NSF Bioinformatics postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Jose Onuchic at the University of California at San Diego, where he studied the theory and computation of protein folding. He then joined UBC as a Canada Research Chair, where he has received support from the Sloan Foundation, CIHR, NSERC, MITACS, and the Digital Technology Supercluster

The Plotkin lab’s current developmental biology interests focus on the molecular genetic origins of multicellularity. They investigate the function and evolution of genetic regulatory networks (GRNs) involved in the processes of cell differentiation, wherein they observe and quantify how such GRNs can give rise to differential gene expression and ultimately to different cell fates. To study the genes and mechanisms inducing cell differentiation that are conserved across all multicellular animal species, their model organism is the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi, a candidate for the earliest diverging animal on the phylogenetic tree.

Click here to find out more about Dr. Plotkin’s lab.

Welcome Dr. Plotkin!