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Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Nicole Valenzuela

Visit my homepage at:
http://www.public.iastate.edu/~nvalenzu/

I am an evolutionary biologist broadly interested in understanding the proximate and ultimate forces underlying development and how genome-wide architectures respond to environmental input at multiple time scales. I am contributing to answering this question by addressing a fascinating evolutionary enigma in its own right: Why do organisms vary so remarkably in the ways they produce males and females?

My research program ranges from modern comparative genomic/epigenetic approaches to classical ecology, and include projects to decipher the gene regulatory networks underlying temperature-dependent (TSD) and genotypic (GSD) sex-determining systems in turtles and other reptiles, and how they respond to different temperature regimes; as well as projects to understand the evolution of turtle genome structure, including the evolution of sex chromosomes and diploid number.

My research also encompasses the study of life history evolution, ecological and conservation genetics of reptiles, mostly in the Neo-tropics and North America. This integrative and multidisciplinary approach helps us understand the ecological, physiological, behavioral, and molecular forces responsible for the evolution of sex-determining systems in vertebrates.