Greg Barsh, M.D., Ph.D.

Faculty Investigator/Mark C. Smith Investigator
Greg Barsh joined the HudsonAlpha Institute in 2009 from Stanford University, where he was a professor of genetics and pediatrics. He received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington.
Dr. Barsh did his graduate and medical training at the University of Washington and post-doctoral training at the University of California-San Francisco. He was a professor of genetics and pediatrics at Stanford University until he moved to HudsonAlpha in 2009.
Dr. Barsh has a strong history of research in mouse genetics, particularly in the fields of obesity and pigmentation where his work was vital to the characterization of the Agouti locus in mouse. This gene and its partners play a vital role in regulating body weight and determining pigmentation in mice. Dr. Barsh’s work has led to the identification and characterization of other genes vital to these pathways including melanocortin receptor and agouti-related
Current research areas in the Barsh Lab include:
• Forward genetics in laboratory mice to identify regions responsible for dark skin. Their work in this area led to characterization of ribosomal protein genes Rps19 and Rps20. Mutations in both genes cause dark pigmented skin in mice, but also have hematological conditions that are similar to human conditions resulting from mutations in orthologous proteins.
• Genetic architecture of pigmentation in human admixed populations. A genome-wide association study of 700 individuals is being analyzed to identify genetic components that affect skin color.
• Genetics and genomics of color patterning in non-model organisms. Many organisms have beautiful and amazing coat and skin color patterns. The Barsh lab is interested in determining how these patterns are determined during development. They use genomic and genetic methods to identify patterning genes in cheetahs, tigers, and
zebras. Recent work characterizes a gene important for patterning in Tabby cats.
• Analytical tools for non-model organisms. The Barsh lab has developed methods for analysis of sequence data from non-model organisms. Their approach called EDGE enables gene expression analysis in any organism.
• Gene expression signatures of transitions to and from hibernation states in the ground squirrel. The hibernation of some mammals is a fascinating area because of its applicability for the understanding of metabolism. The Barsh lab is working to identify genes that are involved in the regulation of hibernation.
Selected recent publications
Johnson, N. A., Coram, M. A., Shriver, M. D., Romieu, I., Barsh, G. S., London, S. J., and Tang, H. (2011). Ancestral components of admixed genomes in a Mexican cohort. PLoS Genet. 7: e1002410
Hong, L. Z., Li, J., Schmidt-Kuntzel, A., Warren, W. C., and Barsh, G. S. Digital gene expression for non-model organisms. Genome Res. 1: 1905-1915.
McGowan, K. A., Pang, W. W., Bhardwaj, R., Perez, M. G., Pluvinage, J. V., Glader, B. E., Malek, R., Mendrysa, S. M., Weissman, I. L., Park, C. Y., and Barsh, G. S. (2011). Reduced ribosomal protein gene dosage and p53 activation in low-risk myelodysplastic syndrome. Blood. 118: 3622–3633.
McGowan, K. A., Li, J. Z., Beaudry, V., Tabor, H. K., Sabins, A. J., Zhang, H., Fuchs, H. de Angelis, M. H., Myers, R. M., Attardi, L. D., and Barsh, G. S. (2008). Ribosomal mutations cause p53-mediated dark skin and pleiotropic effects. Nat. Genet. 40: 963–970 (2008).