Dr. Shan Hays

Dr. Shan Hays
Assistant Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Colorado; B.A., University of Colorado; Ph.D., University of Oregon
(970) 943-2552
Office Location: 
Hurst Hall 238C
Natural & Environmental Sciences Department
Academic Program: 
Cell Biology & Pre-medicine
Environmental Biology & Ecology
Pre-allied Health
Wildlife Biology

Contact Information

Office: Hurst 238C
Office Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9-10 am and Mondays and Fridays 11 am-noon​

Phone number: 943-2552

Email: shhays@western.edu

Courses I am teaching Spring 2015:

  • Genome Analysis
  • Living Planet
  • Molecular Biology

Courses I have 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


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

Research Interests

Using genetic and biochemical techniques, I examine the role chromatin (the DNA-RNA-protein complexes which 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 modify the boundaries between transcriptionally silent and active regions of chromosomes and assay the expression of a nearby reporter gene.

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.


  • Hays SM, Swanson J, Selker EU. Identification and characterization of the genes encoding the core histones and histone variants of Neurospora crassa. Genetics. 2002 Mar;160(3):961-73.
  • Hays SM and Selker EU. Making the selectable marker bar tighter and more economical Fungal Genetics Newsletter. 2000 Aug; 47:107.
  • Klock AD, Rountree MR, Grisafi PL, Hays SM, Adhvaryu KK, Selker EU Neurospora importin α is required to localize heterochromatic complexes to sub-nuclear chromatin targets (in press)
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