Brandon Sinn

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology & Earth Science

Dr. Sinn is a botanist whose research leverages molecular and morphological techniques to answer questions central to our understanding of the diversification of lineages and their evolutionary relationships, the transfer of genetic material between distantly related organisms, conservation, and organellar genome evolution. Dr. Sinn joined the department in 2019 after serving as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Barrett Lab at West Virginia University where his work focused on conservation genetics, comparative genomics, and ecological niche modeling. He also served as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory at the New York Botanical Garden as part of the international Planteome Project. Dr. Sinn teaches Principles of Biology, Introduction to Organisms and Ecology, and Molecular Evolution.


  • Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, 2015
  • B.S. in Biological Sciences, Youngstown State University, 2008
  • Postdoctoral Experience: West Virginia University, Barrett Lab
  • Postdoctoral Experience: New York Botanical Garden, Stevenson Lab
  • Publications

  • Sinn, B. T., S. J. Simon, M. V. Santee, S. P. DiFazio, N. M. Fama, and C. F. Barrett. 2022. ISSRseq: an extensible method for reduced representation sequencing. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 13:668-681.  

  • Barrett, C. F., M. V. Santee, N. M. Fama, J. V. Freudenstein, S. J. Simon, and B. T. Sinn. 2022. Lineage and ‘role’ in integrative taxonomy of a heterotrophic orchid complex. Molecular Ecology 31(18):4762-4781.
  • Barrett, C. F., J. Lambert, M. V. Santee, B. T. Sinn, S. V. Skibicki, H. M. Stephens, and H. Thixton. 2021. Genetic, morphological, and niche variation in the widely hybridizing Rhus integrifolia-Rhus ovata species complex.  Plant Species Biology 36(1):17-35. 

  • N. M. Fama, B. T. Sinn, C. F. Barrett. 2021. Integrating genetics, morphology, and fungal host specificity in conservation assessment of a vulnerable, selfing, mycoheterotrophic orchid.  Castanea 86(1):1-21. Winner of Richard and Minnie Windler Award, systematics category.
  • Roznere, I., B. T. Sinn, M. Daly. 2021. Freshwater mussels (Unionidae) brought into captivity exhibit up-regulation of genes involved in stress and energy metabolism.  Scientific Reports 11(1):1-10.
  • Marshall, S. K., K. B. Spainhower, B. T. Sinn, T. P. Diggins, and M. T. Butcher. 2021. Hind limb bone proportions reveal unexpected morphofunctional diversification in Xenarthrans. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 28(3):599-619. 

  • Sinn, B. T. and C. F. Barrett. 2020. Ancient mitochondrial gene transfer between fungi and the orchids. Molecular Biology and Evolution 37(1):44-56. 

  • Folk, R. A., N. Sewnath, C.-L. Xiang, B. T. Sinn, and R. P. Guralnick. 2020. Degradation of key photosynthetic genes in the critically endangered semi-aquatic flowering plant Saniculiphyllum guangxiense (Saxifragaceae).  BMC Plant Biology 20(1):1-11. 

  • Barrett, C. F., M. R. McKain, B. T. Sinn, X.-J. Ge, Y. Zhang, A. Antonelli, and C. D. Bacon. 2019. Ancient polyploidy and genome evolution in palms.  Genome Biology and Evolution 11(5):1501-1511.
  • Barrett, C. F., B. T. Sinn, and A. Kennedy. 2019. Unprecedented parallel photosynthetic losses in a heterotrophic orchid genus. Molecular Biology and Evolution 36(9):1884-1901. 

  • Barrett, C. F., B. T. Sinn, L. T. King, J. C. Medina, and S. C. Lahmeyer. 2019. Phylogenomics, biogeography, and evolution in the American palm genus BraheaBotanical Journal of the Linnaean Society 190(3):242-259. 

  • Sinn, B. T., D. D. Sedmak, L.M. Kelly, and J. V. Freudenstein. 2018. Total duplication of the angiosperm plastome small single copy region: rearrangement and inverted repeat instability in Asarum.   American Journal of Botany 105(1): 71-84. 

  • Cooper, L., A. Meier, M.-A. Laporte, J. L. Elser, B. T. Sinn, D. Cavaliere, S. Carbon, B. Qu, B. Smith, J. Preece, E. Zhang, S. Todorovic, G. Gkoutos, J. Doonan, D. W. Stevenson, E. Arnaud, C. Mungall, and P. Jaiswal. 2018. The Planteome Database: An Integrated Resource for Plant Genomics Data and Reference Ontologies for Plants.  Nucleic Acids Research 46(D1): 1168-1180.

  • Roznere, I., B. T. Sinn, and G. T. Watters. 2018. The transcriptome as a conservation tool for non-model organisms: the Amblema plicata transcriptome provides a resource to assess environmental impacts on freshwater mussels.  Freshwater Mollusk Biology and Conservation 21(2)-57-64. 

  • Sinn, B. T. 2017. Asarum rosei (Aristolochiaceae), a new species from the Blue Ridge Escarpment of North Carolina, USA.  Phytotaxa 296(1): 53-62. 

  • Freudenstein, J. V., M. B. Broe2, R. A. Folk2, and B. T. Sinn2 (2contributed equally). 2016. Biodiversity and the species concept – lineages are not enough.  Systematic Biology 66(4): 644-656. 

  • Sinn, B. T., L. M. Kelly, and J. V. Freudenstein. 2015. Putative floral brood-site mimicry, loss of autonomous selfing, and reduced vegetative growth are significantly correlated with increased diversification in Asarum (Aristolochiaceae).  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 89: 194-204.  

  • Sinn, B. T., L. M. Kelly, and J. V. Freudenstein. 2015. Phylogenetic relationships in Asarum: partitioning-dependent topologies and a revised classification.  American Journal of Botany 102(5): 765-779.  

  • Sinn, B. T. 2015. Asarum chueyi (Aristolochiaceae), a new species from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee and Virginia, USA.  Phytotaxa 224(1): 85-95. 

  • Renne, I. J., B. T. Sinn, G. W. Shook, D. M. Sedlacko, J. R. Dull, D. Villarreal, and J. L. Hierro. 2014. Eavesdropping in plants: delayed germination via biochemical recognition.  Journal of Ecology 102(1): 86-94.