Brian W. Davis, PhD

Dr. Brian W. Davis

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
B.S., Genetics
B.S., Biochemistry
B.S., Molecular and Cellular Biology
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
M.S., Biomedical Science
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Ph.D., Genetics
National Human Genome Research Inst., National Institutes of Health

“I focus on big-data-omics, as in genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, and others, to address questions of basic biological processes. I am an evolutionary biologist that is interested in how genomes and organisms evolve when under natural and artificial selection, whether in natural populations or in domesticated animals. I extend this research to study cancer and heritable disease in companion and agricultural animals using very large datasets.”

Research Specialties

Bioinformatics and Genomics

Conservation & Population Genetics

Medical Genetics-Human and Animal

How long have you been a faculty member at Texas A&M?

4 years.

What made you choose to join the A&M faculty?

The College of Veterinary Medicine influenced me in a very positive way when I was a graduate student through collaboration and training. I did not plan to return to A&M as faculty after graduating with my PhD here. However, after my postdoc at NIH, I realized there are precious few programs in the country that offer the diversity of research in the areas I am passionate about.

What makes A&M stand out above other institutions? What is the best part about being part of the Genetics program?

Texas A&M is world-class research institution that is passionate about a comprehensive, quality education for undergraduate and graduate students. The Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics is an excellent example of how the diversity of top-tier researchers can contribute to curriculum and cutting-edge research. The breadth of international collaborations is evident in the faculty and graduate student population.

How have your experiences in the Genetics graduate program shaped your thinking?

I have been a student in the Genetics graduate program, as well as faculty. When I was president of the GGSA, it helped me considerably to shape my future career goals due to the input of faculty as well as other students. Now that I have the opportunity to mentor, my goal is to be as good or better than the mentors I had as a student.

How would you describe the atmosphere of the Genetics program with regard to collegiality (between students, students and faculty, faculty and faculty, etc…)?

I am on many Genetics student committees and work with many others that I am not. The Genetics program is very interconnected with other research programs, particularly in the College of Veterinary Medicine where I am. Faculty mentorship is excellent, even when mentoring other faculty. The students are very supportive of one another, and that is evident in the enthusiasm within the program.


What is your favorite conference to go to? And why?

Plant and Animal Genomics (PAG) is one of the best conferences around. The diversity of research, and the sheer volume of attendees ensures there is always something interesting going on. Plus, San Diego is amazing in January.

Fun Facts:

When I am not in the lab, I am…

Building an electric car conversion on a 65 Datsun roadster with my son. I live outside B/CS proper, and I also enjoy spending time in the woods and state parks when not tinkering with cars or electronics.

What is the most gratifying aspect about mentoring graduate students?

I thoroughly enjoy the ‘eureka’ moment that happens after a long period of diligent work. This is especially profound when a student uncovers something that is unexpected and exciting. Seeing students take pride in their achievements is phenomenal.

Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them.

I am a habitual Shetland Sheepdog owner. Unfortunately, they have much higher than normal rates of bladder cancer; one of the reasons I am currently researching this disease. I currently have one Sheltie, Ava, who has heterochromia (two different color eyes) and Cushing’s disease, and loves constant pets. I also have a rescue pit-mix named Pete after the current Secretary of Transportation and previous presidential candidate who is very toy-motivated.