Jason Macrander, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marine Biology

As a teacher, I do not expect all of my students to become scientists, but I want them to be able to evaluate and understand biological concepts they encounter in the media and everyday life. My own experiences in the lab and improving myself as a teacher has inspired me to develop a student-centered active learning environment, which facilitates an understanding of biology and an appreciation of science.

- Jason Macrander

Connect with
Jason Macrander

building is Polk Science - room is 129
Phone 863.680.4351


View CV


I am an evolutionary biologist using comparative ‘omics approaches in sea anemones and other venomous animals to address questions concerning venom evolution, symbiosis, and protein function. In my research, I use sea anemones as a model to understand how ecological factors influence molecular diversity from a phylogenetic perspective.

Being originally from Nebraska I had a strange obsession with marine life and SCUBA diving since high school. I quit my first job after about a month to pursue something that would get me "closer" to animals (albeit was working a concession stand at a drive through zoo in Nebraska). I did my undergraduate degrees in Biology and Fisheries & Wildlife at Nebraska and exhausted every avenue of Marine Biology research or training while I was there. I was lucky enough to participate in undergrad research in Roatan, Honduras using remote sensing to monitor and identify corals. I also was selected for Disney's advanced internship program, where I maintained aquariums and feed the fish at The Living Seas (now known as "The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends") in EPCOT.

I did one year of my Masters in Puerto Rico and although the proximity to the ocean was great I returned to Nebraska to complete my Masters. I went to The Ohio State for my PhD where I started working with sea anemones and venom, then the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for a postdoc.


I consider myself a novice to intermediate zymurgist.



Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. Adviser: Dr. Meg Daly
Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization: College and University Teaching, 2011 – 2016

Masters of Science, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Adviser: Dr. Guillermo Orti, 2008 – 2010

Bachelor of Science (dual degrees), University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Biological Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife, 2002 - 2007

Publications and Exhibitions

Ivanina, A., Borah, B., Rimkevicius, T., Macrander, J., Piontkivska, H., Sokolova, I., Beniash, E. 2018. The role of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling in biomineralization of the oyster Crassostrea gigas. Front. Mar. Sci. 5:309

Macrander, J., Panda, J., Janies, D., Daly, M., Reitzel, A.M. 2018. Venomix: A simple bioinformatic pipeline for identifying and characterizing toxin gene candidates from transcriptomic data. PeerJ 6:e5361

Leach, W.B., Macrander, J., Peres, R., Reitzel, A.M. 2018. Transcriptome-wide analysis of differential gene expression in response to light:dark cycles in a model cnidarian. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part D Genomics Proteomics. 26: 40 – 49.

Reitzel, A.M., Macrander, J., Mane-Padros, D., Fang, B., Sladek, F.M., Tarrant, A.M. 2018. Conservation of DNA and ligand binding properties of retinoid X receptor from the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens to human. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol.

Columbus-Shenkar, Y.Y., Sachkova, M.Y., Macrander, J., Fridrich, A., Mondepalli, V., Reitzel, A.M, Sunagar, K., Moran, Y. 2018. Dynamics of venom composition across a complex life cycle. eLife: e35014.

Carrier, T.**, Macrander, J., Reitzel, A. 2018. A microbial perspective on the life-history evolution of marine invertebrate larvae: if, where, and when to feed. Marine Ecology: e12490.

Krishnarjuna, B., MacRaild, C.A., Sunanda, P., Morales, R.A.V., Peigneur, S., Macrander, J., Daly, M., Raghothama, S., Dhawanf, V., Chauhanf, S., Tytgat, J., Pennington, M.W., Norton, R.S. 2018. Structure, Folding, and Stability of a Minimal Homologue of ShK from Anemonia sulcata. Peptides. 99: 169 – 178.

Macrander, J., Dimond, J., Bingham, B., Reitzel, A. 2018. Transcriptome sequencing and characterization of Symbiodinium muscatinei and Elliptochloris marina, symbionts found within the aggregating sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima. Marine Genomics. 37: 82 – 91.

Macrander, J., Daly, M. 2016. Evolution of the Cytolytic Pore-forming Proteins (Actinoporins) in Sea Anemones (Actiniaria). Toxins. 8: 36.

Titus, B.M., Daly, M., Macrander, J., del Rio, A*., Santos, S.R., Chadwick, N.E. 2016. Contrasting abundance and contribution of clonal proliferation to the population structure of the corkscrew sea anemone Bartholomea annulata in the tropical Western Atlantic. Invertebrate Biology. 136: 62 – 74.

Mercier, A., Baillon, S., Daly, M., Macrander, J., Hamel, J.F. 2016. Biology of a deep-water sea anemone (Anthozoa: Actiniidae) from eastern Canada: spawning, development, and growth. Deep Sea Res. Part II: Top. Stud. Oceanogr., 137: 359-367

Lewis Ames, C., Macrander, J. 2016. Evidence for an alternative mechanism of toxin production in the box jellyfish Alatina alata. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 56: 973-988.

Macrander, J., Broe, M., Daly, M. 2016. Tissue-Specific Venom Composition and Differential Gene Expression in Sea Anemones. Genome Biology and Evolution. 8: 2358-2375.

Macrander, J. Broe, M, Daly, M. 2015. Multi-copy venom genes hidden in de novo transcriptome assemblies, a cautionary tale with the snakelocks sea anemone Anemonia sulcata (Pennant, 1977). Toxicon. 108: 184-188.

Willis, S.C., Winemiller, K.O., Montaña, C.G., Reiss, P., Macrander, J., Farias, I.P., Orti, G. 2015. Population genetics of the speckled peacock bass (Cichla temensis), South America’s most important sport fishery. Conservation Genetics, 16: 1345.

Macrander, J., Brugler, M., Daly, M. 2015. A RNA-seq approach to identify putative toxins from acrorhagi in aggressive and non-aggressive Anthopleura elegantissima polyps. BMC Genomics, 16: 221

Nguyen, T., Collins-Silva, J., Podicheti, R., Macrander, J., Yang, W., Nazarenus, T., Nam, J., Jaworski, J., Lu, C., Scheffler, B., Mockaitis, K., Cahoon, E. 2012. Camelina seed transcriptome: A tool for meal and oil improvement and translational research. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 11: 759 – 69.

Willis, S., Macrander, J., Farias, I., Orti. G. 2012. Simultaneous delimitation of species and quantification of interspecific hybridization in Amazonian peacock cichlids (genus Cichla) using multi-locus data. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 12: 96.

Macrander, J., Willis, S.C., Gibson, S*., Orti, G., Hrbek, T., 2012. Polymoprhic microsatellite loci for the Amazonian Peacock Basses, Cichla orinocensis and C. temensis, and cross-species amplification in other Cichla species. Mol. Ecol. Resour. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-0998.2012.03173.x.

Li C., Bessert, M. L., Macrander, J., Orti, G. 2009. Low variation but strong population structure in mitochondrial control region of plains topminnow, Fundulus sciadicus. Journal of Fish Biology 74:1037 - 1048.

Li C., Bessert, M. L., Macrander, J., Orti, G. 2007. Microsatellite loci for the plains topminnow (Fundulus sciadicus, Fundulidae). Molecular Ecology Notes, 7: 691 - 693.