Steven Munger


  • University of Michigan, 1999, BS in Biology
  • Duke University, 2010, PhD in Genetics

Brief biography

The Munger Lab is a hybrid wet-dry lab that combines advanced computational methods with experimental validation techniques in high-resolution genetic mapping populations—an integrative approach called ‘systems genetics’—to elucidate the gene regulatory architecture governing cell fate decisions during early development and quantify the effects of environmental exposures on these processes. Our research takes advantage of the powerful Diversity Outbred (DO) and Collaborative Cross (CC) mouse populations, complementary reservoirs of natural genetic perturbations that segregate high genetic diversity with a balanced population structure ideal for high-resolution genetic mapping, to characterize the effects of genetic and environmental perturbations on multiple layers of gene regulation and infer predictive network models underlying cell fate decisions and exposure health risks. This systems genetic approach has enabled us to (1) define the consequences of genetic variation on transcript and protein abundance in the adult liver, and in so doing discover that pervasive transcriptional variation is largely constrained in homeostatic adult tissues at the level of protein abundance by the relative stoichiometry of protein binding partners and complex members, and (2) predict and validate genetic variants that influence multiple layers of gene regulation and affect maintenance of ground state pluripotency in mouse embryonic stem cells. Understanding cell fate decisions in stem cells has grown into a primary focus of the lab, and we have multiple research projects that take advantage of a large panel of genetically diverse embryonic stem cell lines derived from DO and CC mice. We are a highly collaborative lab that fully embraces team science, and most trainees contribute to more than one project and interact with multiple investigators. I (Steve) strive to provide an open, collaborative, diverse, and supportive environment where both people and research can flourish. For more information, please visit our lab website at

Research Area of Focus

Bioinformatics/Computational Biology, Development, Genomics, Stem Cells, Systems Genetics

Full List of Publications

  • For a list of published articles from the lab, please visit our lab website at