Nicole King is reconstructing a seminal event in evolution – the transition to multicellularity that set the stage for animal origins. The King...
Nicole King is reconstructing a seminal event in evolution – the transition to multicellularity that set the stage for animal origins. The King lab focuses on choanoflagellates, the closest known relatives of animals, and sponges, the earliest branching animal phylum. Using comparative genomics in choanoflagellates and sponges, this work has revealed that diverse gene families required for animal cell interactions evolved before the origin of animal multicelluarity. Current research in the King lab addresses the functions of choanoflagellate homologs of animal genes, and the mechanisms by which choanoflagellates detect and respond to prey bacteria.
Nicole received a B.S. (1992) from Indiana University, Bloomington, and an A.M. (1996) and a Ph.D. (1999) from Harvard University. King performed postdoctoral research (2000-2003) in the laboratory of Sean Carroll at the University of Wisconsin. Since 2003, she has been an assistant professor of genetics, genomics, and development in the Departments of Molecular and Cell Biology and Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. King was named a Pew Biomedical Scholar in 2004, received the George A. Bartholomew Award in Comparative Physiology from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in 2004, and was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2005.