We study the evolutionary genetics of life's big challenges - sex, death, and disease



Males and females vary in their investment in reproduction, somatic maintenance and immune defence. We explore the processes and genetic constraints shaping this dimorphism and the implications it has for the evolution of complex traits or even other organisms, such as an invading pathogen. 



Evolutionary theory can explain why a disadvantageous trait like ageing evolves, yet the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. We seek to understand how interactions betwene the ecology, genetics, or energetic condition of an organism influence the rate at which they die.

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Individuals inevitably vary in their responses to pathogen attacks. We try to explain why the damage caused by pathogens evolves. Our focus is on the genetic architecture of disease and the roles that environmental change and demography play in shaping the outcome of exposure.

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Recent news


Two fully-funded PhD position are available to work in our group on themes broadly related to evolutionary ecology and health. Using species of Daphnia and their associated pathogens as powerful experimental model, the successful candidates will work closely with Matt and his collaborators to develop projects that explore any one of the following eco-evolutionary processes (or even suggest another…).

At least four years ago I starting working on this while in the lab of Dieter Ebert. A move back home, staring a lab from scratch, and some life distractions, pushed out working on the final draft for a long time. Now it is out. Motivated by much of the work done in Dieters lab by the likes of Frida Ben-ami, David Duneau, and Pepijn Luijckx, this review explores how the organisation of the infection process itself may modify the evolution of disease. Here are some musing on the paper....

After much construction and planning (and some delays), we have finally moved into our new lab space at Monash University. The work area is also part of a larger shared lab space. Our new lab mates are now the groups of Kay Hodgins (ecological genomics, zoology.ubc.ca/~hodgins/people.html) and Beth McGraw (vector biology, vectorbiologygroup.com). Photos within...

We will soon be seeking a dedicated and ambitious Research Assistant to work on Daphnia evolutionary ecology. The applicant will work on a variety of projects linked to the evolution of complex traits such as life-history, ageing or infectious disease susceptibility. A formal advertisement will follow shortly, but the start date will be early 2015.