Denise Clark

Honorary Research Professor



Bailey Hall 243

1 506 452 6193

Academic interests

  • Genome evolution
  • Purine nucleotide metabolism
  • Drosophila genetics

Brief biography

Following completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in cell biology from UBC, Denise went to SFU to study genome organization in the nematode C. elegans for her Ph.D. thesis research in David Baillie’s lab. Next, she received a post-doc fellowship to study the genetics of purine nucleotide metabolism in Steve Henikoff’s lab at Fred Hutch in Seattle.

Arriving at UNB in 1994 as an Assistant Professor, Denise established a research program to continue her work on purine nucleotide synthesis genes in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. With funding from CIHR and NBHRF, and the help of many graduate and undergrad students, her lab identified connections between these essential metabolic genes and several aspects of Drosophila biology, including gene regulation, fertility, cell death, and stress.

Initiated by the study of the functional diversification of a duplicated purine synthesis gene, Denise’s interest in genome evolution was rekindled, leading to the establishment of a NSERC Discovery Grant research program on RNA-based gene duplications, or “retrogenes”. This research is focused on detailed functional studies of retrogenes and, more recently, on the mechanism by which these duplications arise.

Courses taught

  • BIOL 3013 Advanced Genetics
  • BIOL 3058 Genetic Analysis Laboratory
  • BIOL 4533 Bioinformatics: Computational Analysis of Genes and Genomes

Selected research

O'Neill RS, Clark DV. (2016) Partial Functional Diversification of Drosophila melanogaster Septin genes Sep2 and Sep5. G3 6(7):1947-1957 doi: 10.1534/g3.116.028886

O’Neill, R.S. and Clark, D.V. (2013) Evolution of three parent genes and their retrogene copies in Drosophila species. International Journal of Evolutionary Biology. doi: 10.1155/2013/693085

Merzetti E, Hackett JM, Clark DV. (2013) Transcriptional regulation of the purine de novo synthesis gene Prat in Drosophila melanogaster. Gene. 518(2):280-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2013.01.024

Holland, C., D.B. Lipsett, and D.V. Clark. (2011) A link between impaired purine nucleotide synthesis and apoptosis in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 188(2):359-367. doi: 10.1534/genetics.110.124222