My research employs genomic, phylogenetic and experimental analyses to investigate the genetic and ecology processes that influence diversification. Specific interests include the molecular genetics of diversification including speciation; the molecular basis of adaptation; the evolution of genome structure; genomic processes influencing gene family evolution; the evolutionary consequences of species interactions; and the coevolution of genes interacting in regulatory and developmental pathways.
Phylogenomics employs genome scale sequence data to resolve organismal relationships and investigate gene family evolution within the context of organismal relationships. Our lab uses phylogenomic approaches to explore the ecological, genetic and developmental processes that contribute to phenotypic diversification and speciation. We focus most of our attention on the evolution of reproductive characters in flowering plants. Much of our research involves phylogenetically based analyses, and we are working with collaborators to develop new empirical and analytical tools to extend the use of phylogenetic methods in comparative genomics. These tools form the foundation for comparative studies aimed at testing the degree to which characterizations of gene function and regulatory networks in model systems are applicable to other plant species.
National Science Foundation (Systematic Biology and Biodiversity Inventories) " Doctoral Dissertation Research: Evolution of polyploidy and storage roots in sweet potato and its wild relatives" PI with student Lauren Eserman
National Science Foundation (IOS Plant Genome Research Program). “ABR-PG: Developing Flowering Dogwood as a Focal Genomic Resource for Woody Ornamentals” (PI), CJ Tsai and Magdy Alabady (UGA), and Jenny Xiang (North Carolina State University), Co-PIs.
National Science Foundation (DEB Dimensions of Biodiversity) “Dimensions: Collaborative Proposal: Molecular, ecological and evolutionary dynamics of carbon fixation and diversification in Agavoideae (Asparagaceae) and Oncidiinae (Orchidaceae)” (PI) Erin Dolan (UGA), Katia Silvera UC Riverside and Vic Albert (University of Buffalo), Co-PIs.
National Science Foundation (IOS), 2014-2017, “RUI: Collaborative: unPAK: undergraduates Phenotyping Arabidopsis Knockouts: A distributed genomic approach to examine evolutionarily important traits” (Co-PI), Matthew Rutter (PI), Courtney Murren and Allan Strand (College of Charleston), Hilary Callahan (Barnard College), Michael Wolyniak (Hampden-Sydney College), and Erin Dolan and Jennifer Jo Thompson (UGA), Co-PIs
National Science Foundation (Plant Genome Research Program), 2010-2017, “The Amborella Genome Project” (Co-PI), Claude dePamphilis (PI) and Hong Ma (Penn State), Doug Soltis, Pam Soltis, and Brad Barbazuk (Florida), and Vic Albert (Buffalo), Co-PIs
Ph.D Plant Systematics and Evolutionary Biology, University of Texas 1995