Shan Hays

Shan Hays

Professor of Biology


Ph.D., University of Oregon, Biology, 2001
B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, Biochemistry, 1994
B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, 1994


Office Hours

Mondays and Wednesdays, 10-11 a.m. and 1-2 p.m.; Tuesdays 2-3 p.m​.

Courses Taught

  • Biochemistry I
  • Biochemistry II
  • Biological Principles
  • Biological Principles Lab
  • Cell Biology
  • Cell Biology Enhancement
  • Cell Biology Lab
  • Chromosome Structures
  • Epigenetics
  • ​Epigenomics
  • Genes in Society
  • Genetics
  • Genome Analysis
  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry Lab
  • Living Planet
  • Meteorology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nature of Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Scientific Writing

Research Interests

Using genetic and biochemical techniques, we examine the role chromatin (the heterogenous complex of DNA, RNA, and proteins that make up chromosomes) plays in centromere formation and gene expression in the simple eukaryotic model organism Neurospora crassa. To determine its role in centromere formation, we delete a centromere and examine neocentromeres that subsequently form. To determine its role in gene expression, we correlate protein binding in a gene’s promoter with the gene’s expression level in different genetic backgrounds that are missing chromatin factors or have modified forms of those factors.

Some of my research students are also examining the dot chromosome of various species of Drosophila fruit flies as part of the Genomics Education Partnership. They generate high quality finished sequences from raw sequence data and they annotate genes and other features to facilitate an evolutionary approach to understand the atypical chromatin strucutres and gene expression patterns of the dot chromosome.