Evolutionary Biology research with high-elevation, high-latitude flowering plants
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." - T. Dobzhansky 1973
My postdoctoral research is working with the excellent model plant system Primula (Primulaceae). Primula sect. Primula represents an ideal model to study the dynamics and effects of gene flow across multiple spatial, temporal, and genomic scales because of its biological characteristics, accumulated knowledge, and availability of genomic resources. This section includes seven diploid species, of which four are endemic to the Caucasian region and three are widespread in Eurasia. Read more here.
My PhD research was with the primarily alpine-arctic herbaceous plant genus Micranthes (Saxifragaceae) is found in the mountains of Asia, Europe, and North America. Micranthes is a model group for investigating broad patterns of plant migration and diversification in mountainous and Arctic areas worldwide and is an excellent candidate for answering large-scale biogeographic questions. Read more here.
Studies have suggested that parts of the genome are differentially affected by introgression as a result of hybridization, with some regions being resistant to gene flow while others are exchanged freely between related species. However, distinguishing between differential introgression and evolutionary processes, such as incomplete lineage sorting, historical gene flow, and genetic drift, that equally shape the heterogeneous genomic landscape requires the integration of both macro- and micro-evolutionary approaches, but studies are limited. The planned research will generate new knowledge on the genomics of hybridization at levels of resolution unprecedented in plants, due to intensive sampling at multiple temporal (from phylogenomic to population genomic) and geographic scales (from allopatric to sympatric comparisons), replicate comparisons between species pairs with different strengths and directionality of crossability and reproductive isolation, and availability of a reference genome and linkage maps in the model system.
I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Zurich in Elena Conti’s lab. I conducted my Ph.D. at University of Florida and Florida Museum of Natural History advised by Nico Cellinese and co-advised by Doug Soltis, and my masters at San Francisco State University with Bob Patterson. Additionally, I worked as a seasonal botanist in the United States Forest Service for a few summers. I love all things botany - from keying plants in the field to teaching Plant Taxonomy to DNA extractions in the lab. I have an affinity for the harsh climates of high elevations and high latitudes and their associated floras. Subsequently, my research has taken me to some amazing places.