Michael Brewer

Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor

Life Sciences & Biotechnology Building 2500


  • Post-Doctoral, UC Berkeley, Department of ESPM, 2012-2014
  • PhD, Biology, East Carolina University, 2012
  • MS, Biology, Marshall University, 2007
  • BS, Biology, Marshall University, 2005

Research Interests

My lab’s research focuses on the patterns and processes that have shaped and continue to influence biological diversity. Our interests lie mostly in systematics, biogeography, comparative genomics, and bioinformatics. Using arthropods, namely myriapods and arachnids as focal taxa, we investigate several aspects concerning the evolution of organisms. As we face what some are calling the “sixth mass extinction”, recognizing the biological diversity that is present, the incipient nature of that diversity, and the factors that influence are intrinsic to its preservation is paramount. Arthropods comprise the largest component of described animal life on earth yet many groups are understudied in most regards including their systematics, life history, ecology, and genetics. Our research focuses on several key aspects of non-model arthropod species evolution and biodiversity from the level of genes to Linnaean classification ranks and the development of tools to better utilize modern molecular datasets.

Because few genomic resources exist for these focal lineages, my lab’s work has the potential for unique discoveries while presenting certain challenges that require an array of tools and bioinformatics expertise. I feel we are currently in a unique and exciting time in biological research, a point where generating genomic scale data is much easier than ever before. However, we suffer from a fundamental gap that now exists between the ease at which we can generate these data and the lack of tools and computational resources needed to analyze such enormous quantities of information. By developing new bioinformatics tools in conjunction with efficient use of existing software, I hope to contribute to the closing of the bioinformatics gap that currently stymies our ability to interpret and use these data efficiently. Several research topics that represent my interests are listed below.

  1. Evolution and underlying genetics of arthropod color evolution
  2. Comparative venomics of spiders and centipedes
  3. Population genomics and phylogenomics
  4. Develop bioinformatics tools for complex biological questions