Associate Director, Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution
John McCutcheon is the associate director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution at ASU. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a master’s degree in human genetics at the University of Utah, a doctorate in computational biology from Washington University in St. Louis and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Arizona. He joined ASU in 2020 after 10 years as a faculty member at the University of Montana.
McCutcheon studies endosymbiosis, or the process by which one cell becomes a long-term resident inside another cell. He is interested in how and why symbioses form, how they are maintained and what happens as the associations become more and more intertwined. His early work was focused on the genomic outcomes of these interactions, but his current work is focused on questions at the cell biological and biochemical level. He and his lab members study endosymbiosis that range from bacterial pathogens, to the bacterial endosymbionts of insect crop pests, to the mitochondria and plastids of animal and plant cells.