William R. Atchley
William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Genetics, Statistics and Biomathematics

The major thrust of my research lies in computational biology and deals with the integration of broad questions about molecular evolution, the evolution of developmental processes and complex morphologies. This research is carried out at several levels of biological organization ranging from molecular analyses to statistical studies of complex polygenically controlled phenotypes and includes both theoretical and experimental aspects.

I am particularly interested in computational molecular evolution, e.g., modeling the structure and evolution of transcriptional regulators, exploring the origin and evolution of regulatory gene networks, and the application of information theory to biological sequence analyses. Our work focuses on several large groups of proteins including the basic helix-loop-helix family of transcription factors and the serpins (serine proteases inhibitors). We work on a variety of topics including the evolution of these large and diverse protein families, modeling various functional domains, elucidating the covariance structure among amino acid sites within the protein, and the applications of classical multivariate statistical methods to biological sequence data. A problem of particular interest is the partition of covariances among amino acid sites into its underlying components, including phylogenetic history, structural and functional constraints and stochastic events.

When not in the lab, I can usually be found playing saxophone with Jazz Alliance and other jazz groups.

Atchley CV