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Contact Information:
Department of
Biological Sciences
120 Flagg Road,
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI 02881 - 0816.
Phone: (401) 874-2373.
Fax: (401) 874-2065.
Steven Irvine
Job Title: Associate Professor of Biological Sciences (Molecular genetics and evolution of development)
Address: CBLS 281,
Phone: (401) 874-9204
  • B. S. Architectural Studies, 1979, University of Illinois
  • M. Arch. (Architecture), 1983, Harvard University
  • Ph. D. Evolutionary Biology, 1998, University of Chicago
  • BIO 101, Principles of Biology I
  • BIO/GEO 272, Principles of Evolution
  • BIO 302, Animal Development
  • BIO/GEO 572, Advanced Evolutionary Biology
Research Interests

Work in this laboratory centers on understanding the molecular genetic control of developmental patterning in animals. In particular I am interested in the evolution of developmental gene regulation, and the ways that genes are regulated in functional networks. The research employs a variety of techniques to determine i) gene expression patterns, ii) functionally test genomic regulatory DNA for its role in controlling those expression patterns, and iii) use transgenics to manipulate expression patterns to examine gene regulatory networks. The principal study organisms are ascidians (sea squirts), which have a number of experimental advantages for this work, including two species with fully sequenced genomes. Sea squirts are primitive chordates, and findings in this animal may be directly comparable to those in their relatives, the vertebrates.

For the Irvine Lab website visit:

  1. Vierra DA, Irvine SQ. (2012) Optimized conditions for transgenesis of the ascidian Ciona using square wave electroporation. Dev. Genes Evol. 222:55-61.
  2. Irvine SQ, Vierra DA, Millette BJ, Blanchette MD, Holbert RE (2011) Expression of the Distalless-B gene in Ciona is regulated by a pan-ectodermal enhancer module. Dev. Biol. 344: 457-458.
  3. Irvine SQ, Fonseca VC, Antony R, Zompa MA (2008) Cis-regulation of the Pax6 gene in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Developmental Biology 317:649-659.
  4. Irvine SQ, Cangiano MC, Millette BJ, Gutter ES (2007) Non-overlapping expression patterns of the clustered Dll-A/B genes in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 308B: 428-441.
  5. Irvine SQ (2007) Whole-mount in-situ hybridization of small invertebrate embryos using laboratory mini-columns. Biotechniques 43:764-768.
  6. Irvine SQ, Seaver EC (2006) Early Annelid Development, A Molecular Perspective. Pp 91-138 in Rouse G, Pleijel F, eds. Reproductive Biology and Phylogeny of Annelida. Jamieson BJM, series ed. Science Publishers: New Hampshire, USA.
  7. Sumiyama K, Irvine SQ, Ruddle FH (2003) The role of gene duplication in the evolution and function of the vertebrate Dlx/distal-less bigene clusters. J. Struc. Func. Genomics 3: 151-159.
  8. Sumiyama K, Irvine SQ, Stock DW, Weiss KM, Kawasaki K, Shimizu N, Shashikant CS, Miller W, Ruddle FH (2002) Genomic structure and functional control of the Dlx3-7 bigene cluster. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99:780-785.
  9. Irvine SQ, Carr JL, Bailey W, Amemiya C, Ruddle FH (2002) Genomic analysis of Hox clusters in the sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 294:47-62.
  10. Irvine SQ, Martindale MQ (2001) Comparative analysis of Hox gene expression patterns in the polychaete Chaetopterus: implications for the evolution of body plan regionalization. Am. Zool. 41:640-651.
  11. Irvine SQ, Martindale MQ (2000) Expression patterns of anterior Hox genes in the polychaete Chaetopterus: Correlation with morphological boundaries. Dev. Biol. 217:333-351.
  12. Irvine SQ, Warriner S, Hunter J, Martindale MQ (1997) A survey of homeobox genes in Chaetopterus variopedatus and analysis of polychaete homeodomains. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 7:331-345.
  13. Panganiban G, Irvine SM, Lowe C, Roehl H, Corley LS, Sherbon B, Grenier JK, Fallon JF, Kimble J, Walker M, Wray GA, Swalla BJ, Martindale MQ, Carroll SB (1997) The origin and evolution of animal appendages. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:5162-5166. (SMI is co-first author)
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