The development of antibody/B-cell and T-cell clonal lineages in response to infection raises many interesting evolutionary questions. For example, B-cell clones that recognize pathogens, such as flu, go through a Darwinian mutation/selection process that results in the evolution of antibodies that bind very specifically to the pathogen. Reconstructing the phylogenetic history of these clones, including inferring “ancestral” B-cell sequences, can contribute in many ways to developing diagnostics and vaccines.
The iReceptor Science Gateway (www.ireceptor.org) facilitates curating, sharing and analyzing these immense data sets of B-cell and T-cell receptor repertoires, following standards developed by the Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire (AIRR) Community (www.airr-community.org). The Gateway allows researchers in academic institutions, biopharma, or clinics/hospitals to search billions of receptors in geographically separated AIRR-seq repositories. Researchers interested in sharing data or exploring the AIRR Data Commons through the open iReceptor Gateway should visit http://www.ireceptor.org and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free account.
My work is at the interface of mathematics and the epidemiology and evolution of pathogens. I hold an Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematics for Evolution, Infection and Public Health. In my group we develop mathematical tools connecting sequence data to the ecology and evolution of infections. I also have a long-standing interest on the dynamics of diverse interacting pathogens. For example, how does the interplay between co-infection, competition and selection drive the development of antimicrobial resistance? To answer these questions, my group is building new approaches to analyzing and comparing phylogenetic trees derived from sequence data, studying tree space and branching processes, and developing ecological and epidemiological models with diversity in mind.
My students, postdocs, and I are interested in human biological and cultural evolution. Projects we are working on at the moment include improving methods of reconstructing the phylogenetic relationships of the fossil hominins, developing new ways of estimating thermoregulation in extinct hominins, and the factors that drive variation in human weaning behaviour. We are also working on the causes of toolkit diversity in small-scale societies, the colonization of the New World, and testing methods of estimating body mass in fossil hominins. In addition, we are looking at the role played by clothing in the replacement of the Neanderthals by modern humans, and attempting to develop a method for evaluating the level of expertise involved in the production of Upper Palaeolithic cave art.
The purpose of my research program is to use an integrated ecological and phylogenetic approach to study the evolution of reproductive behaviour. We are currently being focussed on several of the outstanding questions in evolutionary ecology: the evolution of social behaviour, the evolution of trophic interactions, the role of ecology in speciation, and the evolution of sex.
We study the evolution of sex in the ocean. We mostly use sea stars as study organisms, high-throughput sequencing methods to discover new genes expressed in sperm and eggs, and population genetic methods to analyze their molecular evolution compared to other parts of the genome. Recent and new projects focus on gamete-recognition genes and sex roles in the crown-of-thorns sea star from the Indo-Pacific; selection and rapid evolution of life histories in Cryptasterina species from Australia; the demography of reproductive isolation between cryptic species of Hermissenda nudibranchs in the northeastern Pacific; and selection on sperm-egg binding proteins in humans. The overall goal is to understand the molecular genetic basis for the evolution of gamete compatibility and reproductive isolation.
In my research, I aim to understand how interactions between species 1) enable those species to persist and 2) direct their future evolution. I use a combination of theoretical, empirical, and statistical approaches. Topics I am most interested in include sexual selection, host-parasite interactions, and Allee effects. In my theoretical work, I also aim to generate empirically testable hypotheses and the corresponding tools needed to test them. Lastly, because insights about the origins and maintenance of biodiversity can inform conservation, I try to make connections with the appropriate conservation programs.
We work at the intersection of phylogenetics, diversification, and conservation. My training is in using phylogenies to probe speciation and extinction dynamics. Since coming to SFU, I have become interested in what phylogenies predict about other attributes of species, and whether there is a strong argument for attending to phylogenetic diversity in conservation planning. Most recently, I have become superficially interested in networks as representations of conservation-relevant diversity.
Interactions between women’s stress and reproductive physiology and the impact of prenatal stress on child development.
(Douglas College) Application of evolutionary theories to mating, disease salience, sexually dimorphic physiology, deception, and individual differences. Currently my research focuses on 1) the effects of disease salience on short-term mating interests and how these interests are moderated by narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism (the Dark Triad) and 2) hormonal responses to social stressors (i.e. the act of deceiving and empathy induction), and their moderation by the Dark Triad traits.