Jurriaan de Vos
Peter is a Marie Curie International Outgoing Research Fellow, based at both the Royal Veterinary College London, UK and Brown University. His research is primarily focused on foot-sediment interactions in the context of understanding dinosaur limb kinematics through computer simulation of footprint formation. Additional research interests include computational techniques in palaeontology and 3D data acquisition.
Nuria Fernandez Gonzalez
BSc., MSc. functional morphology (U. Copenhagen, DK). Ph. D., ecomorphology (James Cook University, AU). Postdocs: Hofstra University, NY; Johns Hopkins Medical University, MD.
I take experimental approaches to understand the form, function and evolution of vertebrate feeding and locomotor systems. My early ecomorphological work explored ecological and evolutionary implications of new jaw joints, and even entire new jaw systems on fish feeding biomechanics. Currently, I measure rapid and powerful locomotor movements in birds and bats to probe questions about the functional outcome of having muscle contractions affect bone position via elastic tendon. These studies are revealing how tendon times the delivery of power to movement when a muscle shortens to function as a motor, and how tendon attenuates impact power when a muscle lengthens to function as a brake. In the future, I will leverage lessons from these muscle tendon unit studies to better understand food processing in vertebrates, including humans. Please visit my website for more information about my work.
MBiol.Sci (Hons Zoology), 2004, Ph.D. 2008, The University of Sheffield, UK
My research interests are broadly based around two central questions in ecology and evolutionary biology: ‘why is there so much fitness variation in populations?’ and ‘what are the genetic mechanisms underpinning such variation?’
During my Ph.D. I investigated the role of mitochondrial DNA variation on sperm function, using zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata and humans as model systems. I have now joined the Rand Lab to work with the ‘supermodel’, Drosophila melanogaster. Among other projects, we are exploring how mitochondrial and nuclear genes interact to affect a suite of fitness-related traits; a mechanism termed ‘epistasis’. I am also interested to continue my sperm research in this system to better understand: (a) why some males produce more offspring than others in a competitive context (sperm competition), and (b) how this relates to the genes they inherit only maternally (mtDNA), from both parents (nuclear DNA), and the epistatic interactions between both genomes.
Yevgeniy "Eugene" Raynes
Ph.D. Kiel University, Germany, 2008
Postdoctoral research associate, Dunn Lab
My research interests focus on the developmental biology and diversity of hydrozoans (Cnidaria). I'm particularly interested in the developmental complexity of siphonophores. These are animal colonies consisting of hundreds or thousands of bodies which together form an entity on a higher organizational level. The different bodies are generated in dedicated growth zones, they are clones, i.e. they share the same genetic background, and they show functional specialization to fulfill a particular task within the colony. By taking a closer look at how these colonies form we hope to enhance our understanding on how genes make particular phenotypes/bodies and how organisms can become more complex in the course of evolution.
Christopher Scott Wylie
I use a combination of theory and experiment to understand evolution as a quantitative, dynamical process. During my PhD in theoretical biophysics, I applied mathematical methods from non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to study the evolution of mutation rate and recombination. During a previous postdoctoral position, I used another area of physics—thermodynamics of protein folding—to predict the shape of fitness landscapes, i.e. the extent to which spontaneous new mutations alter fitness. Currently, I am experimentally testing my earlier predictions, using the antibiotic resistance enzyme β-lactamase as a model system.
PhD. Ecology, Evolution & Systematics, University of Missouri-St. Louis
I am an evolutionary and phylogenetic biologist working as a postdoc in Casey Dunn's lab. I am broadly interested in evolutionary biology and my research over the years has focused on i) systematics and evolution of neotropical angiosperms, ii) molecular evolution of gene families underlying functional phenotypes, iii) quantitative approaches to species delimitation, in particular using morphological data, and iv) biodiversity informatics, especially regarding computational challenges in phylogenomics. Currently, I am working on the development of pipelines for phylogenomic analyses using high throughput sequence data, and I am analyzing multiple data sets from different invertebrate clades to reconstruct their evolutionary histories.