I am broadly interested in evolution, ecology, and conservation of natural populations. Research in my lab combines genomic tools, mark-recapture methods, and experiments to study how interactions between gene flow, drift, and selection affect population dynamics and diversity patterns. I am especially interested in gaining a mechanistic understanding of genetic rescue, which is the increase in population growth caused by the infusion of new genetic variation, and in implementing this tool in conservation and management.
We are interested in the origin and diversification of novel phenotypic and behavioral traits involved in animal communication signals, as they relate to signal diversity, mate choice, and speciation. Our model system of choice is the mormyrid electric fish, which enables a highly integrative approach to these questions, combining behavior, physiology, developmental biology, population genetics, and genomes.
The goal of our research is to understand how stem cells generate a diverse and complex nervous system using zebrafish as a model system. My laboratory addresses this question focusing on the largest part of the peripheral nervous system – the enteric nervous system (ENS). Our research aims to answer the fundamental question of how the generation of ENS cell lineages is regulated during normal development, in situations that model human disease, and under regenerating conditions. We will not only uncover cellular, genetic, and molecular mechanisms underlying cell fate determination but also contribute to developing therapeutic approaches using stem cells to repair ENS diseases.
My research is in the field of behavioral ecology. I focus on the role of information and uncertainty in various aspects of the ecology and evolution of behavior, including: sexual selection, social behavior, communication, conflict and cooperation, predator-prey interactions, habitat choice and the evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity.