Skip to main content

Austen Barnett, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

Hurd Science Center 132

Dr. Austen Barnett is broadly interested in how changes in developmental dynamics facilitate morphological evolution. He began this interest by studying lamprey retinal development during his undergraduate work at the University of Southern Indiana.

Following this, Dr. Barnett studied how gene expression patterns have changed to produce divergent morphologies in the mite Archegozetes, including its reduction of segmentation, limb development, and the deployment of Hox genes, for his Ph.D. work at the University of Southern Illinois.

After graduating, he studied the genetic input of Rho-kinase substrates on establishing planar cell polarity in the developing eyes and wings of Drosophila during his postdoc at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Following this fellowship, he then spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the lab of Prof. Cassandra Extavour, where he studied Hox genes, germ cell specification, and axial patterning in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus.

As of 2017, he teaches in the Department of Natural Sciences at DeSales University, where he teaches Genetics, Research Seminar, Developmental Biology and Introduction to Bioinformatics. He has been promoted to Associate Professor in 2023.

Currently, the Barnett Lab is looking into the ancestral role of the highly conserved EGF pathway in insect oogenesis. Additionally, students in the lab are looking into the phenomenon of eye loss in a number of arachnids using developmental and bioinformatic approaches.

Recent Publications

Yila G, Nakamura T, Itoh T, Kajitani R, Toyoda A, Tomonari S, Bando T, Ishimaru Y, Watanabe T, Fuketa M, Matsuoka Y, Barnett AA, Noji S, Mito T, Extavour CG. 2021. Insights into the genomic evolution of insects from cricket genomes. Commun Biol 4, 733.

Kazmierczak RA, Dhagat-Mehta B, Gulden E, Lee L, Ma L, Davis-Strober CP, Barnett AA, Chabu YC. 2020. Evaluations of CRC2631 toxicity, tumor colonization, and genetic stability in the TRAMP prostate cancer model. Oncotarget. 2020;11(44):3943-3958. 

Blank PN, Barnett AA, Alderfer KE, Gillott BN, Christianson DW, Himmelberger JA. 2020. Structural studies of geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate synthase, a prenyltransferase found in thermophilic Euryarchaeota. Acta Crystallographica Section D. D76, 542-557.

Barnett AA, Nakamura T, Extavour, CG. 2019. Hox genes limit germ cell formation in the short germ insect Gryllus bimaculatus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201816024.

Barnett AA, Thomas RH. 2018. Early segmentation in the mite Archegozetes longisetosus reveals conserved and derived aspects of chelicerate development. Development Genes & Evolution, 1-5.