Key Research Interests and Expertise

I am an evolutionary geneticist interested in understanding how reproductive traits evolve and function at a mechanistic level. A core interest is in evaluating the potential of sexual selection and sexual conflict for driving evolutionary change and in understanding the underlying mechanisms involved. Fruitflies provide an exceptionally good model, with relevance to pest control, for the study of sexual conflict and sexual selection. We have studied in detail the actions of seminal fluid proteins, which evolve at exceptionally high rates and have striking, fitness-related functions.

Current Research Projects

  • The genetic basis of sexual conflict in fruitflies
  • Role of sexual conflict in ageing
  • Regulation of seminal fluid encoding genes
  • Socio-sexual responses to sperm competition
  • Role of gut microbiota in driving host evolution
  • Dietary adaptation
  • Functions and fitness effects of seminal fluid proteins
  • Genetic methods for control of pest insecs

Life in our research group 

Our research uses a combination of classical and molecular genetics, life history studies and, increasingly, genomics and bioinformatics to study how male-female interactions drive evolutionary change. As well as engaging with the seminars in the School and beyond, we have our own weekly lab meetings and journal club debates to keep up to date. We work with fruitflies because of their astonishing genetic utility and ease of manipulation, but we do venture out of the lab occasionally....

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Postdocs & Fellows 

I am always happy to discuss possibilities for postdoctoral work and collaborations. Possible funding routes include fellowship appliactions, e.g. EU Marie Curie fellowships, with me acting as sponsor, or grant applications with you as a named postdoc.

Collaborations

We maintain national and international collaborations, including with: Professor Mariana Wolfner at Cornell University USA; Dr Amanda Bretman at the University of Leeds UK; Dr Claudia Fricke at the University of Meunster Germany; Dr Neil Morrison at Oxitec Ltd UK; Professor Luke Alphey at the Institute of Animal Health Pirbright UK; Dr Jen Perry at the University of Oxford.

Research Group Membership

PhD students:

Michael Darrington. Project: RNAi for insect control. Funding: Oxitec Ltd: www.oxitec.com/. Email: m.darrington@uea.ac.uk

Alice Dore. Project: Love thy neighbour: social and sexual accommodation in fruitfies. Funding: NRP BBSRC DTP. Email: a.dore@uea.ac.uk

Emma Gould (primary supervisor: Dr Chris Hamilton, Pharmacy). Project: use of garlic polysuiphides for insect control. Funding: BBSRC CASE, partner Ecospray Ltd (http://www.ecospray.com/). Email: emma.gould@uea.ac.uk

Stewart Leigh. Project: Genetic control of pest insects. Funding: EnvEast NERC DTP, in collaboration with Prof Luke Alphey, Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright (www.pirbright.ac.uk/). Email: stewart.leigh@uea.ac.uk

Jessy Rouhana. Joint PhD degree, with Prof Bregje Wertheim, University of Groeningen, Holland. Project: sex peptide as a master regulator of reproduction. Funding: Ubbo Emmius Scholarship (Holland) and UEA scholarship. Email: j.rouhana@uea.ac.uk

Post Doctoral Research Assistants

Dr Emily Fowler. Project: Measure for measure: female reproductive plasticity. Funding: NERC. Email: e.fowler@uea.ac.uk

Dr Wayne Rostant. Project: Measure for measure: female reproductive plasticity. Funding: NERC. Email: w.rostant@uea.ac.uk

 

 

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