Lab Luminary

COLSA geneticist recognized for rigorous research standards

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
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Kelley Thomas

Kelley Thomas has been designated a STEM Exemplar by the P.I. Program at Washington University in St. Louis. The program’s Exemplar Project recognizes researchers who lead labs that produce high-quality, high-impact, federally funded research in any empirical science discipline including social, natural, physical, life or biomedical science. Exemplars also have an outstanding reputation for leadership and integrity in research.

Thomas is the Hubbard Professor in Genomics at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA), and he’s director of the Hubbard Center for Genome Studies

His work focuses on the mechanisms, rate and patterns of molecular evolutionary processes that define the relationships among organisms and between organisms and their environment. The research provides insights into inherited and acquired genetic disorders such as tumors and cancer.

“Kelley is an outstanding example of a STEM Exemplar, and he’s highly qualified for this recognition,” says Jon Wraith, dean of COLSA. “He is an excellent and very productive geneticist who exemplifies research integrity, but even more important to the institution is that he invests a great deal of effort in mentoring and training others.”

Thomas is currently lead or co-investigator on several large institutional training and infrastructure grants, including the National Institutes of Health-funded NH-INBRE and COBRE awards and the NSF-funded Major Research Instrumentation and Resource Coordination Network awards. According to Wraith, these efforts tangibly advance the outcomes of COLSA students, faculty and staff members.

Inside the Genome

UNH graduate students working in the Hubbard Genome Center

UNH graduate students working in the Hubbard Center for Genome Studies are examining marine sediments from the Gulf of Mexico to determine how oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon may have impacted tiny organisms called meiofauna.

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“Kelley’s perspective and long experience has taught him that methodologies must be carefully documented and that results must be reproducible not only within his own group but also in other labs,” says Rick Cote, professor of biochemistry and chair of the molecular, cellular and biomedical sciences department, who nominated Thomas for the award. “These rigorous standards have made him a leader in his field.”

Despite this latest accolade for the internationally recognized geneticist and 2011 Excellence in Research award recipient, Thomas is self-effacing.

“I am very honored and will do my best to live up to the lofty designation,” he says.

Many agree that he already has.

The P.I. Program helps researchers operate professionally in today’s complex environments and address the needs of successful investigators struggling with scientific and compliance requirements. Development of the program has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (administrative supplement award to the Washington University CTSA grant UL1 RR024992).

  • Written By

    Sarah Schaier | College of Life Sciences and Agriculture

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