My research and work has focussed on various aspects of genomic evolution, and I specialize in bioinformatic analysis and interpretation of genomic data. I did a postdoctoral fellowship working with Judith Mank at the University of British Columbia, during which I worked on questions involving the evolution of recombination rates and sex specific genomic evolution. I completed my Ph.D. in 2018, working with Ben Evans at McMaster University assessing various aspects of Xenopus genome biology. My primary research focus is on how genetic sex determining factors influence genome evolution and, more generally, how differences between the sexes manifest at the genetic level. I also spend a lot of time thinking about polyploidy, phylogenetics, and speciation.
Ph. D. Dissertation
My research focussed on discovering and characterizing new sex chromosomes in Xenopus. This work centred on X. borealis, and determined that this species has a newly evolved set of sex chromosomes different from the rest of the genus (the rest of which have a fairly new sex determining system as well). This newer set of sex chromosomes proved quite interesting, as they have rapidly acquired widespread recombination suppression, but the sex chromosomes remain homomorphic (largely similar) to one another.
Xenopus are also interesting for having undergone multiple rounds of genome duplication. Another focus of my research was to look at the impact these events have had on genome restructuring and profiling selection across the genome. This work demonstrated that differences between the diploid progenitor species have likely lead to unequal evolution of the two subgenomes inherited from the ancestors.
See the publications page for papers relating to these projects.
Genetics and Species
Another interest of mine is to use genetic tools to assess species dynamics. My colleagues and I have studied the phylogeography of the most widespread African clawed frog (X. laevis), providing insight on the overall genetic structure of this species and gene flow between it and its close relatives. We’ve also investigated genetic introgression of the extremely vulnerable X. gilli and sympatric X. laevis populations. I have also assessed the impact of urban development on the genetic connectivity of a wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) population. See the publications page for papers relating to these projects.