Research topics

  • developmental variation

    We seek to determine the degree to which the structure, character, and dynamics of the process of development predisposes the system to produce certain forms instead of others.

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  • limb congenital malformations

    We use non-model mammals as “natural mutants” to identify mutations that contribute to the generation of divergent limb phenotypes in humans with congenital limb malformations.

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  • Regulatory evolution

    We seek to identify regulatory innovations that have driven the evolution of gene expression and limb form in mammals including opossums, bats, mice, and pigs.

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  • Sensory adaptations

    We seek to identify the main biological forces in the genome, during development, and in anatomy that promote the success of bats in adapting to their changing environments.

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  • Parallel evolution

    We are studying the genetic and developmental mechanisms that drove the parallel reduction of digits in several mammals (cows, pigs, camels, deer, horses, dogs, and cats).

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  • thalidomide teratogenesis

    We are using the opossum (Monodelphis domestica) as a new, mammalian system to uncover the developmental basis of thalidomide teratogenesis.

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Research themes

  • Devo-evo studies of the role of development in shaping evolutionary change.
  • Organism-driven studies in evo-devo.
  • Multi-disciplinary approaches (paleontology, developmental genetics, genomics, mathematics, systems biology, field-work, etc.).
  • Non-traditional mammalian model systems (bats, pigs, opossums, deer, horses, etc.).
  • Spans the levels of the biological hierarchy (individual, within-species, among-species, etc.)
  • Diverse team of collaborative researchers (math, compsci, genomics, bioe, devbio, functional morphology, phylogenetics, etc.).