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About Meredith Protas

I have a strong commitment and background in both teaching and research and have prioritized both aspects in my career.  One of my main interests is in the genetic basis of eye disease and variation in diverse systems.  I have studied the genetic basis of eye loss in cave dwelling fish and crustaceans and also the genetic basis of eye disease in humans.  I am interested in the developmental and genetic variation causing disease and evolutionary change. 

In my graduate work, I studied eye size variation in a species of cave fish, Astyanax mexicanus, investigating the genetics of this complex trait and creating genetic tools for this species that helped promote it to the rank of an emerging model organism.  This species continues to be an excellent model for eye degeneration and disease.  In my postdoctoral work, I developed a new model for studying natural variation in eye size, the crustacean Asellus aquaticus.  This species has many of the same advantages of Astyanax mexicanus, in addition to many unique qualities such as extreme phenotypic variation in the degree of eye degeneration within a cave population, a likely monogenic mode of inheritance of eye loss, and the many practical considerations working with an invertebrate species. Then, additional postdoctoral experience in the genomic basis of eye disease in humans gave me medical perspective and knowledge, as well as the capacity to work with whole genome sequence and next-generation sequencing data.  


2014 - Present Assistant Professor, Dominican University of California
June 2012 - August 2012 Adjunct Instructor, California State University, East Bay
January 2008 - May 2008 Adjunct Instructor, Mills College

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Best presentation: UC Berkeley Developmental Biology meeting, 2011
  • (Pomona College) Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Biology Honors, 1999


2014 Postdoc, University of San Francisco ‐ Genetics of eye disease
2011 Postdoc, University of California - Berkeley ‐ Evolution and Development
2005 Ph.D., Harvard Medical School ‐ Genetics
1999 B.A., Magna cum laude, Pomona College ‐ Biology

Contact Information

Dominican University of California
Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
50 Acacia Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94901

Office: Science Center #222
Lab: Science Center #223



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