Wade R. Roberts

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Alverson Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas. I completed my PhD in Molecular Plant Sciences with Eric Roalson at Washington State University in the School of Biological Sciences.

Contact me: wader at uark (dot) edu


As a botanist and evolutionary biologist, I am fascinated by biological diversity. Understanding diversification at the macro- and microevolutionary scales has long been a central goal of evolutionary biology. My research aims to understand the patterns and processes of diversification. I combine bioinformatics, comparative genomics, phylogenetics, and developmental biology to investigate how genetic networks and pathways modify and evolve to produce diverse phenotypes. For my doctoral work, I studied the genomics of floral diversification in the genus Achimenes (Gesneriaceae) and worked to develop this group into a new model system for understanding flower evolution. My postdoctoral research will focus on phylogenomics of the diatom order Thalassiosirales, a model diatom lineage that spans the marine-freshwater salinity gradient and exhibits substantial genome size variation.


Onyshchenko A, Roberts W.R., Ruck E.C., Lewis J.A., Alverson A.J. 2021. The genome of a nonphotosynthetic diatom provides insights into the metabolic shift to heterotrophy and constraints on the loss of photosynthesis. New Phytologist In press. [doi]

Gargas C.B., Roberts W.R., Alverson A.J. 2020. Genome sequences of bacteria associated with the diatom Cyclotella cryptica strain CCMP332. Microbiology Resource Announcements 9:e01030-20. [doi][pdf]

Roberts W.R., Downey K.M., Ruck E.C., Traller J.C., Alverson A.J. 2020. Improved reference genome for Cyclotella cryptica CCMP332, a model for cell wall morphogenesis, salinity adaptation, and lipid production in diatoms (Bacillariophyta). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 10(9): 2965-2974. [doi][pdf]

Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2020. Co-expression clustering across flower development identifies modules for diverse floral forms in Achimenes (Gesneriaceaea). PeerJ 8: e8778. [doi][pdf]

Kleinkopf J.A., Roberts W.R., Wagner W.L, Roalson E.H. 2019. Diversification of Hawaiian Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) under the influence of incomplete lineage sorting and hybridization. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 57(6): 561-578. [doi][pdf]

Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2018. Phylogenomic analyses reveal extensive gene flow within the magic flowers (Achimenes). American Journal of Botany 105(4): 726-740. [doi] [cover image][pdf]

Roberts W.R., Roalson E.H. 2017. Comparative transcriptome analyses of flower development in four species of Achimenes (Gesneriaceae). BMC Genomics 18: 240. [doi] [pdf]

Roalson E.H., Roberts W.R. 2016. Distinct processes drive diversification in different clades of Gesneriaceae. Systematic Biology 65(4): 662-684. [doi] [cover image] [pdf]