Evolutionary change can occur quickly, which causes shifts in traits over short timescales. Ecologists have demonstrated that organismal traits are a key component that dictates ecosystem functions and the outcomes of ecological interactions. Hence, it may be that evolution plays an important role in ecology, even over short timescales. My research focuses on understanding if and how evolution alters ecological interactions using using simulations, outdoor experimental enclosures, and field observational data. I am using the seasonal drosophila system to investigate the genomics, phenotypes, and population dynamics of these eco-evolutionary interactions.
The genetic basis of seasonally-varying selection is an open problem in the evolutionary genetics of Drosophila melanogaster. Using a combination of evolutionary theory, computer simulations, and analysis of gene expression, my research investigates the factors that determine long-term stability of allelic variation under seasonal selection regimes.
The ecological genetics of the natural populations of D. melanogaster is loosely understood. In this broad topic, I’m interested in the migrations and the genetic contributions of these migrations into the gene pool of D. melanogaster. This way, my aim is to understand the migration selection balance in natural populations, in various temporal and spatial settings. To achieve this, in my research, I use field collections, and experimental outdoor populations, with phylogenetic methods to analyze them.
To survive the winter, Drosophila melanogaster enters a stage of reproductive arrest called “diapause”. This diapause program requires extensive physiological changes mediated by changes in gene expression. As a graduate student in the Schmidt and Levine labs, I am investigating how chromatin state contributes to the arrest of ovarian development during diapause.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
- Subhash Rajpurohit – Postdoc Research Associate, – 2016
- Subhash is an assistant professor in Ahmedabad University, India.
- Jayatri Das, post-doc, 2005-2006.
- Jayatri is a senior exhibit and program developer at the Franklin Institute Science Museum.
- Graeme Taylor, post-doc, 2001-2003.
- Graeme is an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Western Ontario.
- Emily Behrman, graduate student, 2011-2017.
- Emily is now a post-doc in Stern Lab at Janelia Research Campus, More
- Vinayak Mathur, graduate student, 2009-2015.
- Vinayak is now a post-doc in Rosenwald lab at the Georgetown University, More
- Xiaqing Zhao, graduate student, 2009-2015.
- Xiaqing is now a post-doc in Daniel Promislow lab at the University of Washington, More
- Katherine O’Brien, graduate student, 2009-2014.
- Katherine is now a post-doc in Kristi Montooth’s lab at the University of Nebraska. MORE
- Annalise Paaby, graduate student, 2003-2009.
- Annalise is now an Assistant Professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech.
- Megan Phifer-Rixey, graduate student, 2003-2009.
- Megan is now a post-doc in Michael Nachman’s lab at Universit of Arizona.
- Jane Bozsik
- Nicolas Betancourt
- Jin Hanna
- Raul Vazquez
- Abraham Musselman
- Rani Richardson
- Run Ze Cao
- Rosa Zedek
- Megan Labasky
- Emily Hollenbeck
- Courtney Kozlowski
- Jordan Achtman
- Julie Charbonnier
- Mike Bramson
- Caiti Smukowski
- Casey Belcher-Timme
- Mark Ayzenberg
- Rachel Crystal
- Sydney Sher
- Sarah Abroms
- Wes Nakamura
- John Christner
- Wei Zhu
- Melanie Heckman
- Chris Malakowski
- Daphne Conde