Our group is interested in the evolution of eukaryotic cells, their genomes and organelles (hydrogenosomes and mitosomes). We have focused on anaerobic and parasitic eukaroytes including Giardia, Trichomonas, Entamoeba and Microsporidia.
Our group which I run jointly with Dr Robert Hirt has the following research foci:
We are using whole genome data to investigate the contrasting roles of vertical and horizontal inheritance, including genes of endosymbiotic origins, in shaping eukaryotic genomes.
We are developing better methods, based upon likelihood and Bayesian approaches, for phylogenetic analysis of molecular data. Our aim is to improve the reconstruction of phylogenetic trees relevant to understanding the early evolution of eukaryotes.
We are investigating the functions of organelles (hydrogenosomes, mitosomes) related to mitochondria. Our investigations are aimed at identifying the core function for eukaryotes of these organelles.
Elected Program Associate of the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, Program in Evolutionary Biology (www.ciar.ca/) (1996)
Member of Editorial Board, Environmental Microbiology (2000-2006)
Associate Editor, Molecular Biology and Evolution (2002-2011)
Awarded Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2006-2011)
Elected Fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology (2008)
Elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (2010)
Member of Editorial Board, Genome Biology and Evolution (2011)
Elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2011)
We run an EMBO World Program workshop on Molecular Systematics in Brazil each year. The teaching material including slides on phylogenetic analysis and an interactive tutorial can be downloaded without restrictions via the EMBO World 09 link on our lab web page.