Dept. of Biological Sciences, Columbia University
We use computational and experimental approaches to learn about the evolutionary processes shaping genome evolution and elucidate the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptations. Current work brings together aspects of molecular genetics, biochemistry, ecology, genomics and computational biology. Of particular interest to us are the factors that limit the rate of adaptive evolutionary change and the extent to which the genetic basis of organismal phenotypic diversity is predictable. We address these fundamental questions at a variety of scales, from the dissection of repeated adaptation in a single protein (Na+,K+-ATPase) to the characterization of changes in gene regulatory networks underlying phenotypes like pigmentation and morphology to inferences about processes underlying genome evolution and speciation. To these ends, we use model and non-model organisms including taxa as diverse as insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians and employs state-of-the-art computational and functional genomics tools, including DNA/RNA sequencing and genome editing technologies.