Allie Graham

Allie Graham
  • Assistant Professor (Starting Fall 2024)


I am an integrative biologist who strives to connect evolution, genetics/genomics, and physiology, using both wet-lab and dry-lab techniques. In addition, part of my passion has been in scientific outreach and broadening participation, because science is for everyone!

I grew up in Houston, Texas, loving animals (especially birds), the outdoors and science. I have worked on all sorts of organisms in my career. I did my undergrad senior thesis as a literature review of "Hybridization as a Form of Speciation in Birds", a master's thesis on the genetics of "Eusocial Evolution in Honeybees", and PhD in "Genomics of High-Altitude Adaptation in Waterfowl". My postdoc work has included molecular mechanisms hypoxia tolerance in aquatic invertebrates, and terrestrial mammals.

My journey as a scientist has led me to all sorts of places - before my position at KU, I was an NIH K99/R00 + T32 NIH Hematology Training Fellow at the University of Utah in the Human Genetics Department. I was also an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology (Broadening Participation) at Oregon State University. During my PhD, I was a Maytag Fellow + HHMI Teaching Fellow at the University of Miami. Before my PhD, I spent some time as a laboratory manager and head teaching assistant at Duke University. I did my master's at UNC Greensboro and went to a small woman's college with no research program (R-MWC, now Randolph College) for undergrad.


NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Utah, 2024
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Oregon State University, 2020
Ph.D. in Biology, University of Miami, 2017
M.S. in Biology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2009
Biology, Randolph-Macon Woman's College, 2007


My work utilizes the extreme selective constraint imposed by low-oxygen environments, across vertebrate (birds, mammals, fish) and invertebrate (crustaceans, insects) systems, in order to probe broader questions like (1) What are the physiological, molecular, and genetic adaptations animals evolve in response to the natural environment? (2) How do cis- versus trans-regulatory elements facilitate an adaptive response to environmental stressors? (3) Do different populations, species or taxa evolve similar adaptations to similar extreme environments - how predictable is evolution?​

To answer various aspects of these questions, my lab uses two main systems, including [1] the intertidal copepod, Tigriopus californicus and [2] the Zebrafish, Danio rerio. I also frequently collaborate with groups that study various waterfowl (ducks, geese). However, based on my discoveries, other systems, including barnacles, other copepods, and cnidarians could be prime candidates for additional projects.

Selected Publications

Se all papers by Allie Graham on PubMed

  1. Graham AM, Jamison JM, Bustos M, Cournoyer C, Michaels A, Presnell JS, Richter R, Crocker DE, Fustukjian A, Hunter ME, Rea LD, Marsillach J, Furlong CE, Meyer WK, Clark NL. Reduction of Paraoxonase Expression Followed by Inactivation across Independent Semiaquatic Mammals Suggests Stepwise Path to Pseudogenization. Mol Biol Evol. 2023 May 2;40(5):msad104. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msad104. PMID: 37146172; PMCID: PMC10202596.

  2. Graham AM, Peters JL, Wilson RE, Muñoz-Fuentes V, Green AJ, Dorfsman DA, Valqui TH, Winker K, McCracken KG. Adaptive introgression of the beta-globin cluster in two Andean waterfowl. Heredity (Edinb). 2021 Jul;127(1):107-123. doi: 10.1038/s41437-021-00437-6. Epub 2021 Apr 26. PMID: 33903741; PMCID: PMC8249413.

  3. Graham AM, Barreto FS. Independent Losses of the Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF) Pathway within Crustacea. Mol Biol Evol. 2020 May 1;37(5):1342-1349. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msaa008. PMID: 32003807.

  4. Graham AM, Barreto FS. Loss of the HIF pathway in a widely distributed intertidal crustacean, the copepod Tigriopus californicus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Jun 25;116(26):12913-12918. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1819874116. Epub 2019 Jun 10. PMID: 31182611; PMCID: PMC6600937.