Jason D Fernandes

Postdoctoral Scholar

Scientific Interests

My scientific interests revolve around the molecular details of evolution.

What changes - on a nucleotide and amino acid level - lead to drastic changes in phenotypes? More specifically, how does evolution create solutions to problems posed by novel selection pressures?

I am a postdoc in David Haussler's lab at UCSC. I recieved my PhD in Alan Frankel's Lab at UCSF.


University of California, Santa Cruz & Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Postdoctoral Scholar, Genomics Institute

I am exploring how transposable elements can rewire existing gene regulatory networks to create novelty via dynamic and cell-type specific expression patterns. I am particularly interested in cases where protein regulators (a family of proteins known as KRAB Zinc Finger Proteins) of transposable elements have "domesticated" these selfish elements to perform important organismal biology.

University of California, San Francisco

PhD, Program in Pharmaceutical Science and Pharmacogenomics

I explored the ability of viruses to create novelty by creating entirely new proteins in existing ones using overlapped reading frames. I showed that HIV balances two overlapped genes by segregating protein functional motifs on the nucleotide level and that this can result in a viral population fitness advantage compared to encoding the genes separately. This work was the first study to experimentally decouple overlapped reading frames and to use deep mutational scanning techniques to comprehensively probe point-mutational space of these HIV genes.

Columbia University

BS, Chemical Engineering; Minor in Computer Science

I worked in the laboratories of Dr. Jingyue Ju (learning about Genomic Sequencing Technologies) and Dr. William Byne (learning about schizophrenia).