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Fabia Battistuzzi

Headshot - Fabia Ursula Battistuzzi

Fabia Ursula Battistuzzi

Associate Professor
340 DH
(248) 370-3593
Lab location: 335B DH
Lab phone: (248) 370-2658
[email protected]


BIO 3340 Evolutionary Biology
BE 4200  Genetic and Genomic Engineering
BIO 4340 Principles of Evolutionary Medicine
BIO 4342/5382 Topics in Evolutionary Biology
BIO 4412 Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics
BIO 3343 Earth and Life Co-evolution (field course)

Research: Tempo and mode of microbial life’s evolution

Life as we know it is astoundingly diverse, resilient, and adaptable to virtually any environment on Earth. Yet, the tempo (chronology) and mode (evolutionary mechanisms) of the evolution that gave rise to billions of species are mostly unknown. The aim of Dr. Battistuzzi's research is to understand when and how species have evolved and investigate the connections between their genetic innovations and variations in environmental conditions. Among all species, microbes span the largest duration of Earth history and are extremely metabolically and ecologically diverse. These characteristics make them a powerful resource to investigate evolutionary mechanisms over long (billions of years) and short (millions of years) timescales while tracing the origin of important ecological innovations such as pathogenicity and the origin of infectious diseases. Main projects in her lab include:

  • Ancient evolution of prokaryotes. Prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea) evolve with complex mechanisms that have hindered a clear understanding of their relationships (phylogeny) and time of origin (molecular clocks). The aim of this research project is to improve our understanding of ancient evolution of prokaryotes and its relation to environmental changes at a planetary scale. 

  • Origin and evolution of infectious diseases. Many eukaryotic microbes are pathogenic to humans and other animals causing diseases such as malaria. The antiquity of the origin of these diseases is poorly understood and, consequently, the environmental and ecological circumstances that favored their spread to multiple hosts are highly debated. With this project, I seek to reconstruct the history of microbial pathogens and use this information to investigate their innovations at the genetic level. 

  • Assessment and development of bioinformatics tools. The amount of molecular data available and forthcoming requires a re-evaluation of current bioinformatics tools to assess their applicability to very large datasets, the accuracy of their results, and their computational requirements. The goal of this research project is to produce improved guidelines for the use of bioinformatics tools to address established areas of research and develop new tools to answer the needs arising from a growing community of researchers in evolution.

Each one of these independently developed projects pushes the science of bioinformatics forward while their synergistic effects will lead to a deeper understanding of life’s evolutionary history which is fundamental to understanding current and future changes in the biosphere. 

Selected Publications:

Fabia Battistuzzi NCBI publication list

Siebert* A.E., M.A. Brake*, S.C Verbeek*, A.J. Johnston*, A. P. Morgan*, A.C. Cleuren, A.M. Jurek*, C.D. Schneider*, D.M. Germain*, F.U. Battistuzzi, G. Zhu, D.R. Miller, J.M. Johnsen, F. Pardo-Manuel de Villena, M.T. Rondina, and R.J. Westrick.  (2023) Identification of genomic loci regulating platelet plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in mice. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 21(10): 2917-2928. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtha.2023.06.018.

Wolfsberger*, W.W., F.U. Battistuzzi, and T. K. Oleksyk (2022). Genomics of adaptation and speciation. Genes, 13:1187 DOI: 10.3390/genes13071187.

Powell* CLE, Battistuzzi FU. (2022).  Testing phylogenetic stability with variable taxon sampling. Methods Molecular Biology. 2569: 167-188. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2691-7_8.

A.A. Superson*, F.U. Battistuzzi. (2022). Exclusion of fast evolving genes or fast evolving sites produces different archaean phylogenies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 170: 107438 DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2022.107438.

Thompson C.L., M. Alberti, S. Barve, F.U. Battistuzzi, J.L. Drake, G. Casas Goncalves, L. Govaert, C. Partridge and Y. Yang. (2021) Back to the future: reintegrating biology to understand how past eco-evolutionary change can predict future outcomes. Integrative and Comparative Biology.  61(6): 2218-2232. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icab068.

Powell*, C. and F.U. Battistuzzi. (2020). Quantifying the error of secondary versus distant-primary calibrations in a simulated environment. Frontiers in Genetics 11: 252. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2020.00252/full.

Sitto*, F. and F.U. Battistuzzi. (2019). Estimating pangenomes with Roary. Molecular Biology and Evolution: 37(3): 933–939. DOI:10.1093/molbev/msz284.

Superson, A.A*, D. Phelan*, A. Dekovich* and F.U. Battistuzzi. (2019). Choice of species affects phylogenetic stability of deep nodes: an empirical example in Terrabacteria. Bioinformatics 35(19): 3608-3616. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btz121.

*OU student

Department of Biological Sciences

Dodge Hall Rm 375
118 Library Dr
Rochester, MI 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-3550
fax: (248) 370-4225