In This Section

William Detrich

Professor Email: Phone: 617.373.4495


Ph.D., Biology, Yale University
M.Phil., Biology, Yale University
B.A., Psychology, Case Western Reserve University

Area(s) of Expertise

Marine Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Research Interests

Marine Molecular Biology and Biochemistry: Evolutionary processes have created organisms and communities that are stunningly beautiful and complex, yet unexpected by and novel to biological scientists. Major examples are found in the cold Southern Ocean (–1.8 to +1°C), among which the cold-loving notothenioid fishes of the Antarctic are the subject of my research.  The central strategy of my work is the comparative approach to adaptational evolutionary biology – my laboratory uses phylogenetically controlled contrasts to evaluate molecular causation in natural experiments, such as the evolution of the proteins of Antarctic fishes to function efficiently at cold temperature. Once we establish potential explanations for such phenomena, we exploit genetically tractable systems, such as the zebrafish, to test our hypotheses under controlled laboratory conditions. Such “model hopping” is a powerful approach to solving problems that are cannot be answered using a single system.

My laboratory is currently investigating three important problems using Antarctic fishes and the zebrafish:

  • The Cold-Adapted Microtubule Cytoskeleton: Evolution of Tubulins and the Protein-Folding Complex CCT
  • Evolution of the Erythrocyte-Null Condition of Antarctic Icefishes: Application of Comparative Genomics to Erythropoietic Gene Discovery
  • Comparative Genomics of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis

Lab Website



Marine Science Center

430 Nahant Road

Nahant, MA 01908