Associate Professor, Integrative Biology
Ph.D. 2002, University of Missouri, Kansas City
KEYWORDS: Experimental Evolution; Genetics; Genomics; High-Throughput DNA Sequencing; Mitochondrial DNA; Mutation; Nematodes; Parasite Evolution; Reproductive Mode Evolution; Sex Chromosome Evolution; Species Discovery
The Denver lab is a fast-paced and fun scientific environment. Our research is rooted in understanding how the various fundamental forces of evolution (mutation, genetic drift, recombination, population dynamics, natural selection) shape patterns of variation and divergence in genomes. Our primary study system is nematodes, including the famous model organism Caenorhabditis elegans and its relatives as well as plant-parasitic and animal-parasitic species. We study populations evolving in nature, as well as populations evolving in the lab. Some example questions that shape our current research paths include:
- Are mutation processes the same or different between different species? Are mutation processes the same or different among different individuals of the same species? If different, why?
- How do parasites evolve virulence on host species? How do host species evolve resistance to parasites?
- Why do some genomes evolve very quickly whereas others evolve very slowly?
- What are the genetic routes taken by organisms to adaptively recover from bad mutations?
- Why do some species reproduce asexually whereas others have sex?