Evolution has produced a spectacular diversity of life on Earth through the processes of mutation, selection, and drift. But if we "replayed the tape of life", would the same diversity evolve? In other words, how predictable is evolution? In my research I study fundamental questions about the genomics of adaptation to address this question. One aspect of my research focuses on the genomics of rapid evolution in host-pathogen systems, where common patterns of selection in diverse taxa suggest predictable themes. Another aspect of my work focuses on convergent evolution of flightlessness in birds, where I use the tools of comparative genomics to infer whether convergent phenotypic evolution is associated with convergent genomic evolution. Finally, the degree to which evolution is predictable depends in part on how much evolutionary change is driven by natural selection (as opposed to neutral processes), so a final aspect of my work seeks to understand how common selection is using population and comparative genomics approaches.
I am the Director of Bioinformatics for the FAS Informatics Group at Harvard University. In my current role, I conduct research, and develop bioinformatics workshops and best practices. For more about the Informatics group and what we do, see our website.