Select Page

Lisa Dorn Ph.D.

Associate Professor Lisa Dorn Ph. D.
Phone: (920) 424-3064


  • B.S. Loyola University of Chicago 1979
  • M.S. University of Illinois Chicago 1984
  • PhD. University of Montana 1994

Classes I Teach

  • Bio 343 Genetics Lecture and Lab
  • Bio 323 Introductory Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Bio 372 Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology


My research revolves around questions of the genetic basis and evolution of the important age- and stage-related transitions in a plants lifetime, otherwise known as life history traits. The evolution of life history traits is especially interesting because these traits are closely related to vigor and reproductive ability, both traits that reflect the effect of natural selection (i.e., fitness). Specifically, I address questions on how changes in gene expression influence the way that plants respond to the environment and how those responses have evolved. We use recombinant inbred lines (RILs) that are just two naturally evolved genomes brought together in a single individual that is then self-fertilized and its offspring self-fertilized for several generations. After several generations the genes from the two parental genomes become mixed up with each other and rearranged in different ways. With the help of several UWO students, and NSF REU students we have used microarrays and qPCR to evaluate the gene expression of every single gene (20,000 for Arabidopsis thaliana, my research organism) in response to a cold treatment of seeds from RILs with extreme sensitivity to cold and those with no sensitivity. While these RILs were not originally designed for this purpose, the shuffling of genes should rearrange gene complexes that arose in nature thereby breaking up functional gene expression pathways that may have evolved to either maintain or prevent changes in phenotype when the environment changes.


Most Recent 11 Publications

  • Worden, C.R., W.K. Kovac, L.A. Dorn, T. R. Sandrin. (2009). Environmental pH affects transcriptional responses to cadmium toxicity in Escherichia coli K-12. FEMS Microbiology Letters. (in press)
  • Boyd, E. W.,  L. A. Dorn, C. Weinig, and J. Schmitt. (2007). Maternal effects and seed germination timing mediate the expression of winter- and spring-annual life-histories in Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae)1. International Journal of Plant Sciences 168:205-214.
  • Donohue, K. and L. A. Dorn, C. Griffith, E-S Kim, A Aguilera, C. R. Polisetty, and J. Schmitt.  2005.  Environmental and genetic influences on the germination of Arabidopsis thaliana in the field.  Evolution 59:740-757.
  • Donohue, K. and L. A. Dorn, C. Griffith, E-S Kim, A Aguilera, C. R. Polisetty, and J. Schmitt.  2005.  The evolutionary ecology of seed germination of Arabidopsis thaliana: variable natural selection on germination timing.  Evolution 59:758-770.
  • Donohue, K. and L. A. Dorn, C. Griffith, E-S Kim, A Aguilera, C. R. Polisetty, R. Hopkins and J. Schmitt. 2005.  Niche construction through germination cueing: life history responses to timing of germination in Arabidopsis thaliana. Evolution 59: 771-785.
  • Stinchcombe, J.R., L.A. Dorn and J. Schimitt. 2004. Flowering time plasticity in Arabidopsis thaliana: a reanalysis of Westerman and Lawrence (1970). J. Evolutionary Biology 17:197-207.
  • Weinig, C., M.C. Ungerer, L.A. Dorn, S. Hallsdorsdottir, Y. Toyonaga, T. Mackay, M. Purugganan, and J. Schmitt. 2002. Novel loci contain variation in reproductive timing in Arabidopsis thaliana in natural environments. Genetics 162:1875-1884.
  • Scheiner, S.M., K. Donohue, L.A. Dorn, S.J. Mazer and L.M. Wolfe. 2002. Reducing environmental bias when measuring natural selection. Evolution 56:2156-2167.
  • Munir, J., L.A. Dorn, K. Donohue, and J. Schmitt. 2001. The effect of maternal photoperiod on seasonal dormancy inArabidopsis thaliana (BRASSICACEAE). American Journal of Botany 88:1240-1249.
  • Dorn, L.A., E. Hammond-Pyle, and J. Schmitt. 2000. Plasticity to light cues and resources in Arabidopsis thaliana: testing for adaptive value and costs. Evolution 4:1982-1994.