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Katie Billmyre

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Assistant Professor

Our lab is broadly interested in understanding aspects of meiotic chromosome biology. Meiosis is the process by which a diploid genome (2 sets of chromosomes) is reduced to a haploid genome (1 set of chromosomes) and packaged into either eggs or sperm. Inheritance of a complete set of chromosomes is important for production of viable offspring, meaning that meiosis is critical for fertility. In humans, meiotic errors that cause missegregation of chromosomes are a leading cause of infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects. Accurate chromosome segregation is challenging in part because organisms typically contain sets of chromosomes with vast differences in size and structure. For example, the largest human chromosome is 5 times longer than the smallest and in the model fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster the largest is 46 times longer than the smallest. Meiosis must accurately segregate distinctly different chromosomes and my lab’s past work has revealed meiotic mechanisms specific to individual chromosomes in Drosophila. We are using a combination of imaging, genetic, and genomic techniques to answer questions about how different chromosomes accurately undergo meiosis using Drosophila as a model system.


2015 Ph.D. Cell Biology, Duke University

2009 B.S. Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan


NIGMS K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award

Uncovering mechanisms controlling chromosome-specific behaviors during meiosis

Selected Publications:

Billmyre, K.K. 2022 Chromosome-specific behaviors during early meiosis. Current Topics in Developmental Biology.

Wesley, E.R., Hawley, R.S., Billmyre, K.K.#, 2020. Genetic background impacts the timing of synaptonemal complex breakdown in Drosophila melanogaster. Chromosoma 129, 243–254. (#Last author)

Billmyre, K.K.*, Cahoon, C.K.*, Heenan M.G., Wesley, E.R., Yu, Z., Unruh, J.R., Takeo, S., Scott Hawley, R., 2019. X chromosome and autosomal recombination are differentially sensitive to disruptions in SC maintenance. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 116, 21641–21650. (*equal co-authors)

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