Olga Zhaxybayeva

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Adjunct Associate Professor of Computer Science
Simons Foundation Investigator in Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems

My research interests are to understand how microbes change over time. Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies brought us an avalanche of data: thousands of genomes and terabases of environmental DNA (metagenomes). I mine these data sets to assess the impact of horizontal gene transfer on microbial populations, find new ways to characterize microbial communities, and track down genomic signatures of microbial adaptations.

333 Life Sciences Center
HB 6044
Department(s): 
Biological Sciences
Computer Science
Education: 
B.S. in Applied Mathematics, Kazakh State University
Ph.D. in Genetics, University of Connecticut
Postdoctroal Training in Microbial Evolution, Dalhousie University
Certificate in Computer Graphics, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

Selected Publications

Roman Kogay, Yuri I Wolf, Eugene V Koonin, and Olga Zhaxybayeva (2020): "Selection for Reducing Energy Cost of Protein Production Drives the GC Content and Amino Acid Composition Bias in Gene Transfer Agents", mBio, 11:e01206-20.

Chase WR, Zhaxybayeva O, Rocha J, Cosgrove DJ, Shapiro LR. (2020) "Global cellulose biomass, horizontal gene transfers and domain fusions drive microbial expansin evolution." New Phytol., 226:921-938.

Kogay R, Neely TB, Birnbaum DP, Hankel CR, Shakya M, Zhaxybayeva O. (2019): "Machine-learning classification suggests that many alphaproteobacterial prophages may instead be gene transfer agents", Genome Biol Evol., evz206.

Bauer KM, Dicovitsky R, Pellegrini M, Zhaxybayeva O, Ragusa MJ. (2019): "The structure of a highly-conserved picocyanobacterial protein reveals a Tudor domain with an RNA-binding function", J Biol Chem., 294:14333-14344.

Migun Shakya, Shannon M. Soucy, and Olga Zhaxybayeva (2017) "Insights into Origin and Evolution of alpha-proteobacterial Gene Transfer Agents", Virus Evolution, 3: vex036.

Stephen M. J. Pollo, Abigail A. Adebusuy, Timothy J. Straub, Julia M. Foght, Olga Zhaxybayeva, Camilla L. Nesbo (2017) "Genomic insights and temperature-dependent transcriptional responses of Kosmotoga olearia, a deep-biosphere bacterium that can grow from 20C to 79C", Extremophiles, 21:963-979.

Straub TJ and Zhaxybayeva O (2017) "A null model for microbial diversification", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 114: E5414-E5423.

Complete list of publications is available at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ecglab/pubs.html