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I am interested in the genetic and developmental mechanisms that drive diversification and evolution. My research program focuses on three levels of evolutionary change: organismal, genomic, and developmental. By using this multi-level approach I can ask general evolutionary questions. For example, what is the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution? What are the molecular mechanisms involved in body patterning and how are patterns historically constrained? What is the level of contribution of molecular, developmental, and environmental factors on phenotype? These questions have driven my research on diverse subjects in evolution.
Currently, my lab investigates the role of gene duplication in the origin of evolutionary novelty in invertebrate eyes, the evolution and development of scallop eyes, and molecular phylogeny and conservation of endangered freshwater mussel species, including the winged mapleleaf, Quadrula fragosa and the western fanshell, Cyprogenia aberti.