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Celeste Brown

Celeste Brown

Research Professor


Life Sciences South 281


(208) 885-4012

Mailing Address

Dept. of Biological Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter MS 3051
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3051

Research: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

  • B.S. Biology, Eckerd College, 1977
  • M.S. Zoology, University of Georgia, 1983
  • Ph.D. Genetics, University of Georgia, 1989
  • M.S. Statistics, University of Idaho, 2000

Dr. Celeste Brown has two research areas, how gene regulation changes in response to selection, and the evolution of disordered proteins. The link between these two disparate areas is that often proteins involved in gene regulation are disordered. The gene regulation studies involve laboratory-based research and the disordered protein studies involve bioinformatics approaches.

  • Brown, Celeste J., Audra K. Johnson, A. Keith Dunker, Gary W. Daughdrill. 2011. Evolution and disorder. Current Opinion in Structural Biology 21:441–446.
  • Karasev, Alexander V., Xiaojun Hu, Celeste J. Brown, Camille Kerlan, Olga V. Nikolaeva, James M. Crosslin, Stewart M Gray. 2011. Genetic diversity of Potato virus YO and origin of recombinant PVY strains. Phytopathology 101:778-785.
  • Sen, Diya, Géraldine A.Van der Auwera, Linda M. Rogers, Christopher M. Thomas, Celeste J. Brown, Eva M. Top. 2011. Broad-host-range plasmids from agricultural soils have IncP-1 backbones with diverse accessory genes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, doi:10.1128/AEM.05439-11.
  • Brown, Celeste J., Luyi Zhao, Kelsie J. Evans, Dilara Ally, Amber D. Stancik. 2010. Positive selection at high temperature reduces gene transcription in the bacteriophage φX174. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10:378.
  • Brown, Celeste J., Audra K. Johnson, Gary W. Daughdrill. 2010. Comparing models of evolution for ordered and disordered proteins. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 27:609–621.
  • Sen, Diya, Hirokazu Yano, Haruo Suzuki, Jaroslaw E. Król, Linda Rogers, Celeste J.  Brown, Eva M. Top. 2010. Comparative genomics of pAKD4, the prototype IncP-1δ plasmid with a complete backbone. Plasmid 63:98–107.
  • Suzuki, Haruo, Hirokazu Yano, Celeste J. Brown, Eva M. Top. 2010. Predicting plasmid promiscuity based on genomic signature. Journal of Bacteriology 192:6045-6055.
  • Wichman, Holly A. and Celeste J. Brown. 2010. Experimental evolution of viruses: Microviridae as a model system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B Biological Science 365: 2495-2501.

  • Evolution of Gene Regulation
    The main question under consideration in the lab is how gene regulation evolves in response to selection. Studies of adaptive evolution of the bacteriophage ϕX174 consistently show changes in sequences that are known to regulate gene expression. Our research centers on discovering whether these adaptive changes are affecting the levels of gene transcripts and then relating these changes in gene regulation to fitness. This research is funded by a COBRE grant from the National Institutes of Health.
  • Evolution of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins
    I have a long-standing interest in the evolution and function of intrinsically disordered proteins, which are proteins or regions of proteins that do not fold into a fixed three-dimensional structure by themselves. Because these proteins do not have long range intramolecular contacts, their amino acid sequences may be evolving differently from ordered proteins, which do have such contacts.
  • Genetic Diversity of Plasmids and Viruses
    I collaborate with Dr. Eva Top on studies related to the genetic diversity and evolution of broad-host-range plasmids and with Professor Alexander Karasev investigating the genetic diversity of potato virus Y.


Department of Biological Sciences

Physical Address:
Life Sciences South 252

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3051
Moscow, ID 83844-3051

Phone: 208-885-6280

Fax: 208-885-7905


Web: Department of Biological Sciences