The primary research interests of our highly collaborative lab are algal evolution, endosymbiosis, and marine biodiversity using modern tools of genomics and bioinformatics. We study the origin of the photosynthetic organelle, the plastid, in diverse algae and aim to understand how organelles are integrated into host metabolism. On the biodiversity side, recently, we generated the first draft genome from an ecologically important, uncultured lineage of marine stramenopiles (MAST-4) using single cell genomics. These tools extend the exploration of biodiversity to novel uncultivated lineages isolated directly from nature. Other ongoing research involves the green alga Picochlorum and addresses the origin of halotolerance in this and related lineages through functional genomics and physiological studies. This alga is a candidate for biofuel production and the work addresses the controls of growth and photosynthesis in this species. Finally, we have recently embarked with multiple collaborators on a large-scale study of coral genome evolution, the origin and developmental control of biomineralization in this lineage, and coral interactions with their dinoflagellate symbionts.
Grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia where I developed a love for the ocean and marine biology. Studied oceanography with Carl Boyd as an undergrad at Dalhousie University, completed by Masters in Environmental Science there, and my PhD in Biology at Simon Fraser University. Learned bioinformatics from Mitch Sogin at MBL, algal evolution from Michael Melkonian in Cologne, biochemistry from Klaus Weber at the Max Planck Institute in Goettingen, and moved to the US in 2009 to start my academic career as a molecular evolutionist with primary interests in algal biology and evolution.
Every Spring semester:
Fundamentals of Genomics 11:216:423:03
Recurring when there is interest:
The Evolution of Eukaryotes 11:704:401
Algal Genomics for Environmental and Algal Biofuel Research 16:335:505:01, 16:215:599:03