Biology Department Faculty Amy Hark
Professor of Biology
Co-director of Biochemistry
New Science Building 225

Visit Amy Hark's website

B.S. Biology, summa cum laude, College of William and Mary
M.A. Molecular Biology, Princeton University
Ph.D. Molecular Biology, Princeton University
Postdoctoral research, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University

Courses Taught
Concepts of Biology: Genes, Genomics, and Society (BIO 118)
Wearing Our Genes: DNA and Determinism (BIO 283)
Principles of Biology III: Cells and Molecules (BIO 152)
Biochemistry (BIO 220)
Genomes and Gene Evolution (BIO 472)
Foods, Broods, and Moods: The Impact of Genetics on Society (FYS 236)

Research Interests
My scientific interests focus on the regulation of gene function; in particular, I am interested in how factors such as packaging of DNA into chromatin and DNA methylation may affect gene expression in eukaryotic organisms. One area of current research investigates the biological roles of proteins known to covalently modify chromatin structure in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Students in my lab are also engaged in a comparative genomics project that uses in silico (computer-based) analysis to annotate genes in Drosophila species, a collaborative effort of the Genomics Education Partnership (

Recent Publications   *denotes undergraduate co-author

Kotak, J.*, M. Saisana, V. Gegas, N. Pechlivani, A. Kaldis, P. Papoutsoglou, A. Makris, M. Sheikh*, J. Burns*, A.L. Kendig*, C.E. Kuschner*, G. Whitney*, H. Caiola*, J.H. Doonan, K.E. Vlachonasios, E.R. McCain, and A.T. Hark. 2018. Transcriptional coactivators affect leaf development and trichome morphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Planta 248: 613-628

Hark, A.T. 2017. Understanding Protein Domains: A Modular Approach. CourseSource. (Accessed December 6, 2017)

Farber, G. A. and A.T. Hark. 2017. Cut-It-Out: CRISPR-Cas9 case study. National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. (Accessed June 20, 2017)

Leung, W.…A.T. Hark,… M. Scheuerman*,… S.C.R. Elgin (276 authors). 2017. Retrotransposons are the major contributors to the expansion of the Drosophila ananassae Muller F element. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics7: 2439-2460.

Leung, W….A.T.Hark, A. Bertolet*, C.E. Kuschner*, K. Parry*, M. Quach*, L. Shantzer*…and S.C.R. Elgin (>1000 authors). 2015. Drosophila Muller F elements maintain a distinct set of genomic properties over 40 million years of evolution. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 5: 719-740.

Lopatto, D….A. Hark…and S.C.R. Elgin (68 authors). 2014. A Central Support System Facilitates Sustainability of Research-Based Laboratory Courses. CBE-Life Science Education 13: 711-723.

Shaffer, C.D.….A.T. Hark...and S.C.R. Elgin (84 authors). 2014. A Course-Based Research Experience: How Benefits Change with Increased Investment in Instructional Time. CBE-Life Science Education 13: 111-130.

Wightman, B. and Hark, A. T., 2012, Integration of Bioinformatics into an Undergraduate Biology Curriculum and the Impact on Development of Mathematical Skills, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 40(5): 310–319.

Cohen, R.*, J. Schocken*, A. Kaldis, K.E. Vlachonasios, A.T. Hark, and E.R. McCain. 2009. The histone acetyltransferase GCN5 affects the inflorescence meristem and stamen development in Arabidopsis. Planta 230: 1207-1221.

Hark, A.T., K.E. Vlachonasios, K.A. Pavangadkar, S. Rao, H. Gordon*, I.-D. Adamakis, A. Kaldis, M.F. Thomashow, and S.J.Triezenberg. 2009. Two Arabidopsis orthologs of the transcriptional coactivator ADA2 have distinct biological functions. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1789: 117-124.