Christopher L. Baker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Conducting research to understand the genetic and molecular regulatory system controlling the location and rate of meiotic recombination.

My overall objective is to understand the genetic and molecular regulatory system controlling the location and rate of meiotic recombination, the process that generates new genetic variation in sexually reproducing organisms. Ever since my early exposure to the power of artificial selection in agriculture while working on a vegetable farm in Vermont, I have been curious about the connection between phenotypic and genotypic variation. Genetic recombination is also critical to the successful completion of meiosis, that when aberrant, impacts human fertility and health. However, little is known about the molecular components of the system controlling where recombination occurs. I use genetic, genomic and molecular biology strategies to identify genes regulating the rate at which meiotic hotspots, the physical sites of DNA recombination, are activated. The Paigen lab is one of several groups that recently discovered one such gene, Prdm9, which controls the position of recombination sites in mice and humans.

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Grants, honors and accomplishments

2002 & 2003 Holzer Memorial Scholarship, a merit based award, University of Vermont

2003 Class of 1939 Scholarship, a merit based award, University of Vermont 

2003 James E. Ludlow Endowed Scholarship Award, University of Vermont 

2003 & 2004 Hughes Endeavor for Life Science Excellence Grant (HELiX), competitive undergraduate research award, University of Vermont 

2006-2008 National Institute for Health Pre-doctoral Training Grant, Dartmouth Medical School

2007 Albert J. Ryan Fellow, Albert J. Ryan Foundation 

2008 Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (SRBR) Excellence Award

2009 Rosaline Borison Memorial Fellowship 

2010 John W. Strohbehn Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research, Dartmouth Medical School (awarded to a single graduating Ph.D. student each year)

2010-2012 T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Jackson Laboratory 

2012-2013 F32 NRSA NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship 

2012-2013 Ruth I. Kirschstein National Research Service AwardInpidual postdoctoral fellowship

2013 Outstanding Oral Presentation, 27th International Mammalian Genome Conference

2014 Outstanding Oral Presentation, 28th International Mammalian  Genome Conference

2016 PALM (Promoting Active Learning and Mentoring) Fellowship. See press NSF funded fellowship to promote long-term mentorship to improve undergraduate education.