Transposable elements are mobile genetic parasites that hop around the genome, increasing in copy number and disrupting genome function. They are repressed in the germ line by several interacting transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. My lab is interested in how variation among individuals in their ability to repress transposable elements contributes to transposable element success. My lab is also interested in understanding the mechanisms and population genetics of transposable element repression. Lastly, my lab is interested in understanding how transposable elements effect the long term evolution of genomes and genome structure.
Many genes produce more than one transcript. Sometimes these different transcripts result in different protein isoforms, which contribute widely to the complexity of cellular and biological processes. However, even when mRNA isoforms produce the same final protein product, they can change where mRNA is localized, how it is exported from the nucleus, how long it is stable and whether or not it is translated. My lab is interested in the contribution of alternative splicing to adaptation, particularly in the context of changing environments. Very little is known about the evolution of splice isoforms and their contribution to adaptation.