Faculty Excellence
W. Kelley Thomas, Ph.D.
Award Type: 
Excellence in Research Award
Year: 
2011

Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences

 

Why do some members of a species develop cancerous cells while other members of the same species don’t? Why do some aquatic organisms languish when their environments grow toxic with pollution while others not only survive but also seem to thrive on it? What might the adaptive qualities of microscopic organisms found in nature teach us about human health concerns?

To answer some of these big picture questions, Kelley Thomas and his colleagues at UNH, and worldwide, study the genetic makeup and evolution of one of nature’s humbler creatures, nematodes (roundworms).

“Tiny, microscopic, wiggly things,” Thomas calls them, adding that they comprise three-quarters of animal life on Earth.