Christopher Baker


  • University of Vermont, 2004, B.S.
  • Dartmouth, 2010, Ph.D.

Research Interests

  • Behavioral/Cognitive Sciences
  • Bioinformatics/Computational Biology
  • Development
  • Genomics
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Stem Cells

Brief Biography

Genetics is the study of heredity and variation. The Baker Laboratory is ultimately interested in understanding how genetic variation manifests into phenotype. While all of us carry similar genetic code, we recognize and celebrate the fact that small differences provide the building blocks for the wealth of diversity we see among and between populations. It is also this genetic variation that can lead to differences in normal health, susceptibility or resilience to disease, and the origins of complex traits. Research over many years has identified that most of these genetic differences we carry in our DNA are not within genes, but rather in the regions of the genome which regulate how these genes are expressed. Furthermore, these regulatory regions are often transiently active during early development; and we operate under the hypothesis that genetic variation in regulatory activity during early development can have a big impact on adult phenotypes.

Between the genetic code in DNA and functional expression of genes there is a regulatory landscape of chromatin. Chromatin is the physical complex of proteins and DNA; however, chromatin is not static but rather is a dynamic substrate in which gene regulatory elements interact with a host of protein factors to fine tune cell-type specific genome function. Our primary focus is understanding how genetic variation impacts chromatin organization, downstream gene expression, and ultimately cell fate.

Much of genetic research in model organisms relies on a reductionist approach of studying one or a few mutant genes on otherwise isogenic backgrounds. Our goal is to use transformative genomic technologies to embrace genetic complexity and integrate systems genetics into meaningful biomedical research.

To access CV, please, press here.

Selected Publications