Solomon Chak

Solomon Tin Chi Chak

Assistant Professor
Position Type
- Present

Dr. Solomon Tin Chi Chak comes to Denison’s biology department from the State University of New York College at Old Westbury. His research centers around animal behavior, evolution, genomics, and marine biology. He has studied a group of eusocial snapping shrimps for >10 years and has > 20 peer-reviewed publications.

Ph.D. Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), College of William and Mary 2011 – 2016; M.S. University of Wyoming, Zoology and Physiology 2005 - 2007; B.S. Iowa State University, Biology, with distinction 2002 - 2005

Learning & Teaching

  • Genomics (Denison)
  • Basic Bio Sciences II (SUNY)
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics (SUNY)
  • Comparative Genomics (SUNY)
Academic Positions
  • Research Associate, Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 2021 – present
  • Assistant Professor, SUNY College at Old Westbury, Biological Sciences Department, 2020 – 2023
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Department of Biological Sciences, 2019 – 2020
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, 2016 – 2019


My research focuses on evolution, genomics, and animal behavior.

I study sponge-dwelling snapping shrimps in the genus Synalpheus, which is the only group of marine animals known to have evolved eusociality, independently multiple times. I use a comparative framework to understand the ecological, life history, and genomic changes associated with the evolution of eusociality in these shrimps, using methods that range from bioinformatics, field survey, histology, manipulative experiments, metagenomic, to phylogenetic.

Current research topics in my lab include transposable element expansion as a consequence of eusociality (PNAS cover, vol 118:12), phylogenomics, morphological, and molecular evolution in snapping shrimps (supported by NSF - DEB, Award Number:2306957), and comparative genomics of eusocial shrimp genomes to reveal the evolutionary dynamics between eusociality and transposable elements (proposal in prep.).

Overall, I am developing a complex, unique, and productive empirical system to study the interaction between behavior, ecology, and the genome.

I can train students in different skills, such as bioinformatics, behavioral experiments, comparative methods, field surveys, morphometrics, and curating a Synalpheus shrimp collection with >40,000 specimens. Please email me if you are interested in working in my lab.


Grants & Funding

Collaborative Research: RUI: Uncovering eusocial pathways and consequences: Phylogenomics, morphological, and molecular evolution in Synalpheus snapping shrimps.

  • NSF - DEB, Award Number:2306957 — Start Date:06/15/2023
  • StEM: Stimulate, Engage and Motivate student research by enhancing the research capacity
  • NSF - CNS, Award Number:2131052 (Co-Principal Investigator) — Start Date:10/01/2021
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