Assistant Professor, The Jackson Laboratory
Steven Munger grew up poor in a small farm town in Michigan. He loved numbers, patterns, and puzzles, and spent his weekends exploring the woods behind his house. Steve’s first heroes were his science teachers, who pushed him to take risks and work hard. Their encouragement led Steve to the University of Michigan, where he graduated with a BS in Biology – but no clear career goals.
Steve spent the next four years on a meandering path, where he met his wife, renewed his interest in biological research, and decided to pursue graduate school. Steve received his Ph.D. in genetics from Duke University in 2010, and by that time had two kids and a growing passion for finding patterns in “big data”. Steve had never visited Maine, but fell in love with the state during his first visit to The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) in Bar Harbor. Steve and his family moved to Maine so he could train as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Gary Churchill, a leader in the area of statistical genetics. Recently, he was given the opportunity to start his own independent research laboratory at JAX, and today Steve is an Assistant Professor of Systems Genetics AND still that kid who loves numbers, patterns, and puzzles – just with bigger and more complex puzzles.
Steve explores the natural genetic variation in each of us that makes us each unique, searching for patterns in our 3 billion bases of DNA that explain why some of us are more likely to get a specific disease than others. Using mice as a model, he seeks to discover how DNA mutations that assert subtle individual effects – “genetic paper cuts” – can, in certain combinations, disrupt gene regulatory networks, cellular function, and ultimately lead to disease.
Friday showcase event The MSF’s answer to Ted Talks, 5 Minute Genius features short, sharp talks by some of Maine’s finest scientists, with 5 minutes per talk, plus 5 minutes for questions. Presenting a sprint through some of the most remarkable, cutting-edge science happening in Maine – you will feel like a genius in no […]