Dean Fraga

Dean Fraga

Danforth Professor - Biology, BCMB, Neuroscience [On Leave 2019-2020]

Office: Williams 281
Phone: 330-263-2557


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison 1990
  • B.S., University of Cincinnati 1982

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 201: Gateway to Molecular & Cellular Biology
  • BIOL 305: Cell Physiology
  • BIOL 306: Genes & Genomes
  • BCMB 303: Techniques in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • BCMB 401: Introduction to Independent Study

Research Interests

I continue to work with students on the evolution of novel protein functions using two model systems, the phosphagen kinase family and the protein phosphatase families in Paramecium.

Work in these two model systems is synergistic in that they are asking evolutionary questions about how genes evolve. The PK work is very mechanistic and asks – what biochemical steps are involved in changing the properties of a protein in a profound manner. Often these changes are initiated by a gene duplication event. The Paramecium work is more global or theoretical in that it is asking what happens in general to genes that are duplicated, are they eliminated, do they acquire novel functions, or do the split up existing functions? By comparing what is happening in two different families of proteins I hope to derive more general theories about the general fate of duplicated genes.