Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
•Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
I am interested in the process of whole-genome duplication (aka polyploidy) and its effects on plant and animal evolution. My graduate work set out to test the hypothesis that plants that have undergone whole-genome duplication are reproductively isolated from diploid or lower polyploid plants. Using controlled crosses, artificial mixed-ploidy arrays, and surveys of natural populations, I determined that diploids and tetraploids are reproductively isolated, but that polyploids (tetraploids and hexaploids) continue to reproduce and undergo gene flow. My postdoctoral work aims to develop bioinformatics tools to detect polyploidy in animal genomes. Using a machine learning process, I will investigate whole-genome duplications from large-scale genomic projects in marine eukaryotes and insects. I will also be developing tools to look for recent genome duplications in human tissues, particularly early in development of solid-tumor cancers.