The College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin

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Sara Sawyer
Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Main Office: MBB 2.124AA
Phone: (512) 232-6179

Alternate Office: MBB 2.124
Alt. Phone: (512) 232-9245

Mailing Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology
2500 Speedway
Austin ,TX 78712-1191

Sara Sawyer

Research Summary

Evolutionary changes driven by historical viral epidemics have left a molecular fossil record in our DNA sequence. Our goal is to learn about natural strategies that have been successful at beating viruses in the past, and how these might be exploited in the fight against modern viral attacks. We are using a broad array of techniques from molecular evolution, virology, experimental evolution, and comparative genomics to look at human and primate genes that encode inhibitors of viral infection. We are also exploring evolutionary trade-offs, where human genes change enough to avoid susceptibility to new viruses, yet still maintain their ability to perform other important cellular functions. We are interested in the inverse effects that evolutionary change can have on multiple, intertwined biological systems.



Bio Sci students