Lab members

Katie Billmyre

NIH K99 Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD Cell Biology, Duke University
BS Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan
NIH Pathway to Independence Fellow (K99/R00) - Fall 2020
GSA De Lill Nasser Award - 2020
Research Summary
Katie was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she was a researcher in the lab of Deb Gumucio. She worked on two main projects investigating Hedgehog signaling in both adult and embryonic murine intestinal biology. Her work in the Gumucio lab culminated in three co-author publications. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Katie went to Duke University and joined the lab of John Klingensmith in the Cell Biology Department. Her thesis research focused on the differentiation and signaling within and from the foregut endoderm that is necessary for the development of the mandible, the esophagus, and the trachea. She published her work on the mandible as a two-author paper and wrote a well-received review of the field of foregut development. After completing her degree, Katie joined the Shawn Ahmed lab at the University of North Carolina as a postdoc. In order to diversify her skill-set and gain training in genetics, she chose to work on Caenorhabditis elegans and the possible role of meiotic genes in maintaining maintain germ cell immortality. Specifically, she investigated the role of GSP-2, a PP1 phosphatase, in germline immortality. Her results suggest that a meiotic function of GSP-2 may promote germ cell immortality, revealing the first meiotic process that promotes germ cell immortality. To follow her interest in the genetics of meiosis, Katie moved to Kansas City to join the Hawley Lab at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in August 2017. Katie’s current work in the Hawley Lab focuses on investigating the mechanism behind the chromosome-specific differences during early female meiosis and the role of the synaptonemal complex in regulating recombination and pairing, earning her a Pathway to Independence (K99/R00) fellowship from the NIH. She has recently reported that there appears to be a temporal requirement for full-length SC in meiotic pairing and recombination (Billmyre et. al. 2019). Recombination and pairing on the X chromosome appears to be more sensitive to disruptions in SC structure than the autosomes. This is the first model of chromosome-specific defects in Drosophila. This is an important area of biology, as in humans it has been shown that there are chromosome-specific differences associated with aneuploidy. Understanding the basis of aneuploidy of different chromosomes requires a deeper understanding of the regulation of crossing over. Katie can be contacted at

Selected Publications
X chromosome and autosomal recombination are differentially sensitive to disruptions in SC maintenance
Billmyre KK, Cahoon CK, Heenan GM, Wesley ER, Yu Z, Unruh JR, Takeo S, Hawley RS. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116:21641-21650.
Original Data        

Full list available on Google Scholar