Anton E. Weisstein

Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
Division of Science
Truman State University
Kirksville, MO 63501

(660) 785-4615 phone
(660) 785-4045 fax

Academic Degrees

1999: Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Population Biology, Washington University in St. Louis
1993: B.A. in Chemistry, Washington University in St. Louis
1993: B.A. in Math, Washington University in St. Louis

Research Interests

•Theoretical population genetics
•Simulation and modeling of evolutionary and ecological processes
•Evolution and epidemiology of infectious diseases

Current projects

The focus of my postdoctoral work with BEDROCK is to develop curricular materials and software for bioinformatics educators. I am currently compiling a problem space for a published study of HIV evolution from my Ph.D. dissertation. The problem space combines background information, sequence and immunological data, links to online software tools, and other materials. Students are encouraged to explore this data, design their own research questions, conduct analyses, interpret the results, and present their findings for peer discussion.

A large component of a national dissemination project like BEDROCK involves presenting at workshops and conferences around the country. BEDROCK itself holds six such workshops a year to support faculty interested in exploring new ways of teaching bioinformatics, in addition to speaking at similar conferences sponsored by other organizations. (See the BEDROCK calendar for a list of past and future workshops.) At these meetings, we also present some simple software we have developed for introducing students to phylogenetics and bioinformatics; see the section “Excel Tools” below for more details.

In the fall of 2003, I co-taught a calculus course in conjunction with Bruce Atwood of the math department. We employed equations, graphs, mathematical models, and data from biology to help students develop a broader understanding of calculus and its applications.

Excel Tools

I have developed a number of simple Excel tools for introducing students to bioinformatic concepts such as phylogenetic reconstruction and split decomposition. I am in the process of developing more advanced and interactive models of population growth, epidemiology, phylogeography, and population genetics. Click on the link above to view or download these tools and their documentation.

BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium

The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium actively supports educators interested in the reform of undergraduate biology and engages in the collaborative development of curricula. We offer the following resources: The BioQUEST Library, BQ Notes, The BioQUEST Website, publications by project staff and participants, workshops and presentations for institutions and organizations, and support of an extended BioQUEST community. We encourage the use of simulations, databases, and tools to construct learning environments where students are able to engage in activities like those of practicing scientists.

See Microbes Count! for a collection of course activities based on these principles.


Bioinformatics is the rapidly growing science of analyzing electronically stored and distributed biological data using computer-based tools. The accumulation of vast, complex genomic data sets enables us to formulate and test evolutionary hypotheses in a variety of fields such as conservation, medicine, agriculture, and forensics. BEDROCK (Bioinformatics Education Dissemination: Reaching Out, Connecting, and Knitting together) is an NSF-funded project aimed at integrating bioinformatics throughout the undergraduate biology curriculum, using an inquiry-based approach in which students explore and analyze actual data in a way that recreates the experience of conducting research.

Positions Held

September 2003 - August 2004: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Beloit College
February 2003 - August 2004: Bioinformatics Research Associate, BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, Beloit College
March 2000 - January 2003: Postdoctoral Fellow, Otago University (Dunedin, New Zealand), Zoology

Presentations at Workshops and Conferences

October 2003  Conservation and invasive species: a case study on salt cedar in the American West. Bioinformatics in Biology Education: Working with Sequence, Structure, and Function, Cornell Theory Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

July 2003   Construction and analysis of phylogenetic trees from multiple sequence alignments and pairwise distances. Reading the Book of Life: How Bioinformatics Makes Sense of Molecular Messages. Mathematical Association of America Short Course Series, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

June 2003   Computational Tools for Teaching Bioinformatics. Bio2010: Computational Solutions to Biological Problems, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

June 2003  
Studying HIV evolution within and between patients. Bridges to the Future Annual Program Meeting (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Tahoe, CA.

May 2003  
Evolutionary Bioinformatics Education: A BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium Approach (an NSF Chautauqua short course), Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA.

April 2003   
Bioinformatics in Biology Education: Working with Sequence, Structure, and Function, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT.

June 2002   
Control of Gene Expression? A Population Genetic Model for the Evolution of Genomic Imprinting. Annual Meting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

June 2001
  An Evolutionary Genetic Model of the Ovarian Time-Bomb Hypothesis for the Evolution of Genomic Imprinting. Annual Meting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, TN.

December 2000  
Patterns of within-host HIV-1 evolution and their association with rates of disease progression. Evolutionary Ecology Symposium, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Within-Host Evolution of HIV. Joint Retreat in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, Missouri Botanical Garden, MO.

June 1998   Patterns of HIV Evolution and Disease Progression. Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution; Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Templeton, A. R., R. A. Reichert, A. E. Weisstein, X.-F. Yu, and R. B. Markham. “Selection in context: Patterns of natural selection in the glycoprotein 120 region of HIV-1 within infected individuals.” Submitted to Genetics.

Weisstein, A. E. 2003. "A Plague on Both Houses: Modeling Viral Infection to Control a Pest Outbreak." Pages 285-294 in Microbes Count! (J.R. Jungck., M. F. Fass, and E. D. Stanley, eds.). Rome, N.Y.: American Society for Microbiology Press.

Donovan, S., and A. E. Weisstein. 2003. "Exploring HIV Evolution: An Opportunity for Research." Pages 137-148 in Microbes Count! (J.R. Jungck, M. F. Fass, and E. D. Stanley, eds.). Rome, N.Y.: American Society for Microbiology Press.

Jungck, J. R., T. Johnson, A. E. Weisstein, and J. Tusin. 2003. "Modeling More Mold." Pages 33-39 in Microbes Count! (J.R. Jungck, M. F. Fass, and E. D. Stanley, eds.). Rome, N.Y.: American Society for Microbiology Press.

Weisstein, A.E., and H. G. Spencer. 2003. “The evolution of genomic imprinting via variance minimization: an evolutionary genetic model.” Genetics 165: 205-222.

Spencer, H. G., M. W. Feldman, A. G. Clark, and A. E. Weisstein. "The effect of genetic conflict on genomic imprinting and modification of expression at a sex-linked locus." Submitted to Genetics.

Weisstein, A. E., M. W. Feldman, and H. G. Spencer. 2002. "Evolutionary genetic models of the ovarian time-bomb hypothesis for the evolution of genomic imprinting." Genetics 162: 425-439.

Carneiro, M., X. -F. Yu, C. Lyles, A. Templeton, A. E. Weisstein, et al. 1999. "The effect of drug-injection behavior on genetic evolution of HIV-1." J. Infect. Dis. 180: 1025-1032.

Markham, R. B., W. Wang, A. E. Weisstein, Z. Wang, A. Munoz, et al. 1998. "Patterns of HIV-1 evolution in individuals with differing rates of CD4 T cell decline." Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 95: 12568-12573.


Updated: September 9, 2005