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Austen Barnett, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


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, he 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.

As of 2017, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at DeSales University.