Dr. Stopper has broad research interests, but his research tends to focus on topics
that fall within the field of evolutionary biology. 

Developmental Evolution of Tetrapod Limbs The main thread of Dr. Stopper’s research is in
developmental evolutionary biology, specifically focusing on how changes in genes and the
interactions between genes and gene products result in evolutionary change in the
development of morphology. Currently Dr. Stopper most often approaches these questions
within the context of the evolutionary transition from fin to limb, and the subsequent
radiation into the diverse limb morphologies found in land animals. This means that work
in his lab usually involves organismal biology in the form of raising animals and
performing manipulations to developing embryos or larvae and observing the consequences
of those manipulations. It also involves molecular work in the form of DNA & RNA
isolation, PCR, RTPCR, and other related technologies. 

Evolution in the Domestication of the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae Dr. Stopper is also
pursuing research questions related to the domestication and evolution of the yeast used
in breadmaking, winemaking, and beer brewing – Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The
domestication of this species appears to have involved many phenotypic changes from the
wild ancestors, and has resulted in a great diversification to different types, not
unlike the diversification to the regional and varied types found in more familiar
domesticated species like cats, dogs, and agricultural animals. This research is carried
out in collaboration with Sacred Heart’s Dr. Kirk Bartholomew. We are currently
investigating 1) the relationships of domesticated yeast strains to better understand
their historical pattern of domestication and 2) the phenotypic changes that occurred
during yeast domestication and diversification, and the molecular changes underlying
these phenotypic changes. 



Mathematics in Conservation: The Case of the Endangered Florida Panther (with Andrew Lazowski), Biology Faculty Publications (2013)

This interrupted case study teaches probability theory and transmission genetics through their application to the...



A Case Study in Elementary Statistics: The Florida Panther Population (with Andrew Lazowski), Mathematics Faculty Publications (2013)

We describe a case study that was created to intertwine the fields of biology and...



Choosing the Right Path: Enhancement of Biologically Relevant Sets of Genes or Proteins Using Pathway Structure (with Reuben Thomas, Julia M. Gohlke, Frederick M. Parham, and Christopher J. Portier), Biology Faculty Publications (2009)

A method is proposed that finds enriched pathways relevant to a studied condition using the...



A Molecular Footprint Of Limb Loss: Sequence Variation Of The Autopodial Identity Gene Hoxa-13 (with Tiana Kohlsdorg, Michael P. Cummings, Vincent J. Lynch, Kazuhiko Takahashi, and Günter P. Wagner), Biology Faculty Publications (2008)

The homeobox gene Hoxa-13 codes for a transcription factor involved in multiple functions, including body...



Inhibition of Sonic Hedgehog Signaling Leads to Posterior Digit Loss in Ambystoma Mexicanum: Parallels to Natural Digit Reduction in Urodeles (with Günter P. Wagner), Biology Faculty Publications (2007)

Molecular mechanisms patterning the tetrapod limb, including anterior-posterior axis determination involving Sonic hedgehog (Shh), have...


Popular Press


Naclerio Faculty Scholars Program Winners Announced, Sacred Heart University News Story (2013)

Richard and Barbara Naclerio began the Naclerio Faculty Scholars Program in support of the work...