Katie Clark, PhD

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Course Information

At Pacific University, all faculty teach a variety of different courses. Typically, we do not use graduate teaching assistants, which means that your classes will be taught by professors and that you will have plenty of opportunities to get to know the faculty in your discipline.

Below I have listed some of the courses that I teach. We are always developing and trying out new classes, so the list may change now and then.

BIO 204 | General Biology II

BIO 385 | Junior Seminar

BIO 490 | Capstone Experience

BIO 495 | Independent Biology Research


PhD in Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., in 2010

Bachelor of Science in Biology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash., in 2002

Research Interests

My main research interest is studying mitochondrial genetics using the model animal Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans).  Mitochondria act as the “powerhouse” of the cell and create the majority of the energy needed for life in eukaryotes.  Mitochondria contain their own genome separate from the nuclear genome.  Mutations in this mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) are associated with normal aging, common diseases such as diabetes and Parkinsons, and with rare inherited mitochondrial diseases.

Like humans, C. elegans accumulated mtDNA mutations with age and their mitochondria are very similar to human mitochondria in gene content.  Previously, I created a large collection of C. elegans worm lines with large deletion mutations in their mtDNA.  My research students are characterizing the effects of these mutations on nematode health and fitness.

As a second project, I am investigating local nematode biodiversity.  Nematodes (aka “roundworms”) are an incredibly diverse group of animals with over 27,000 species identified and an estimated over 1,000,000 species worldwide.  This provides an excellent opportunity for students to discover new species.  As part of my Genetics class, I have students go “worm hunting” for nematodes in soil samples.  Students isolate, culture and molecularly identify local soil nematodes.


KA Clark, D Cheam*, J Seng*, K Gaffner* and DR Denver (in preparation) A targeted genetics approach in Caenorhabditis elegans reveals the role of mitochondrial single-stranded binding protein (mtss-1) in the formation of large mitochondrial DNA deletion mutations.

KA Clark, DK Howe, K Gafner*, D Kusuma*, S Ping*, S Estes and DR Denver (2012) Selfish Little Circles: transmission bias and evolution of large deletion-bearing mitochondrial DNA in Caenorhabditis briggsae nematodes. PLoS One. 7:e41433. Featured in popular science news article at Science Daily

DR Denver, MJ Raboin, and KA Clark. (2011) Review: Evolution of Reproductive Mode Transitions in Nematodes: insights from molecular phylogenies and newly discovered species. Mol Phylogenet and Evol 61:584-92.

S Su, KA Clark, NM Gibbs*, SM Bush, and PJ Krysan. (2011) Ice-Cap: A Method for Growing Arabidopsis and Tomato Plants in 96-well Plates for High-Throughput Genotyping. doi: 10.3791/3280. J Vis Exp. Not Set.

KA Clark and PJ Krysan. (2010) Chromosomal Translocations are a Common Phenomenon in Arabidopsis thaliana T-DNA Insertion Lines. Plant Journal, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04386.x .  Selected by Faculty of 1000 ()

KA Clark and PJ Krysan. (2007) Protocol: An improved high-throughput method for generating tissue samples in 96-well format for plant genotyping (Ice-Cap 2.0). Plant Methods. 12:3-8.

WR Robertson, K Clark, JC Young and MR Sussman. (2004) An Arabidopsis thaliana Plasma Membrane Proton Pump Is Essential for Pollen Development. Genetics. 168: 1677-87.

*Undergraduate co-author

Office Location: 
Douglas C. Strain Science Center 308 (Forest Grove)
Area of Study I Teach (Undergraduate):