Below is a brief overview of our plenary speaker’s research interests.

Katrina Lythgoe
I am an evolutionary biologist based in the Big Data Institute at the University of Oxford. In our group, we are interested in the evolutionary epidemiology of viral infections, including HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. Our particular focus is on evolutionary and ecological processes operating at different ecological scales (e.g. within- and between-host), to assess the impact this integration of scales has on our understanding of the evolution and epidemiology of infectious disease. We use a combination of approaches, including population genetics, deterministic and stochastic modelling, and the evolutionary analysis of viral sequence data. Our ultimate aim is to produce better predictive models of the consequences of interventions, including the spread of transmitted drug resistance, changing levels of viral virulence, and adaptation of viruses to host immunological backgrounds.

Find out more about our research here

Research Group Leader; Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Oxford Big Data Institute
Talk title: “Short-sighted viruses”
Stuart West
I am an evolutionary biologist whose main interest is adaptation, and especially the evolution of social behaviours, such as cooperation, altruism, spite, mutualism, and how these can influence major evolutionary transitions. I use a mixture of techniques including theory, experiment and across species comparative studies.

Find out more about our research here

Professor of Evolutionary Biology, University of Oxford
Talk title: “Cooperation and division of labour”
Melissa A. Wilson
Dr. Melissa A. Wilson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences and the Center for Evolution and Medicine in The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. 

What we study: Our main research interests are in sex chromosome evolution, sex-biased processes, population genetics, and comparative genomics. See more about our research interests here.

Lab mission: Our lab mission is to develop and test hypotheses in an environment that facilitates discussion and gives voice to each lab member. “I don’t know,” is a powerful and useful statement.

Find out more about our lab here

Asst. Professor, School of Life Sciences, Center for Evolution & Medicine, Arizona State University
Talk title: “Sex-biased genome evolution”
Anne Yoder

Photo Credit: Masami Hasegawa, 2017

Anne Yoder is the Braxton Craven Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Duke University. Her research has been devoted to understanding how the myriad forces of climate, geography, genetics, and ecological interactions have converged to generate the unique and incredibly diverse biota of Madagascar, home to approximately 5% of the earth’s biodiversity, with 80% of these organisms being unique to this island nation. The mission of the Yoder Lab is to understand the evolutionary history and biological complexity of this diversity, and in so doing, contribute to a global effort to conserve and protect what remains. Her lab works on the premise that the inordinately high levels of endemism and biological diversity of Madagascar constitute a compelling reason to study this island system with the hope that knowledge gained from this unique but complex system will have applications across the globe. Her group utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that includes field inventory activities, evolutionary genomic analysis, and integrates advances in the multispecies coalescent to leverage statistical power for analyzing biological problems for which there is comparatively limited species sampling. Over the years she has collaborated extensively with Malagasy colleagues and these collaborations continue to inform and direct her studies.

Find out more about our research here

Braxton Craven Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Department of Biology, Duke University
Talk title: “Cryptic is as cryptic does: intriguing patterns of speciation in Madagascar’s mouse lemurs.”