Erik C. Andersen, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Department of Molecular Biosciences
Institution
Northwestern University
Address
2205 Tech Drive
Cook 3125
City, State, Zip
Evanston, IL 60208-3500
Phone
(847) 467-4382
E-mail
erik.andersen[at]northwestern.edu
Website
http://www.andersenlab.org
Research Field
Genetics
Award Year
2014

Research

Most traits of biomedical and agricultural relevance are controlled by multiple genes interacting with each other and with the environment. The goal of my research is to understand these complex traits at the molecular level. In one of our research topics, we are focused specifically on the genes and mechanisms underlying how parasitic nematodes develop resistance to the drugs currently used to combat them. These parasites infect hundreds of millions of people annually and indirectly increase susceptibility to HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, exacerbating health problems in the developing world. Currently, few drugs are available to treat these infections, and parasites are rapidly developing resistance to the limited options available. We use novel high-throughput assays to measure the effects of anti-nematode drugs in hundreds of independent strains across diverse species. This comparison creates the unique opportunity to discover conserved resistance genes and translate them back to parasitic nematodes. My research program combines statistical and population genetic methods with molecular genetics facilitated by robotic and computational platforms. We hope to make discoveries that will allow physicians to tailor existing anti-nematode treatments to exploit the genetic weaknesses in parasites and enable researchers to identify new drugs that act broadly against multiple species.