My research is looking at the evolution of CAM photosynthesis using phylogenomics, physiology, and transcriptomics. I focus my work in the Agavoideae, a subfamily of the Asparagaceae that includes Agave, Hosta, and Yucca. Specifically, I'm looking at natural variation in photosynthetic mode in a C3-CAM Yucca hybrid native to the southeastern U.S., Yucca gloriosa. 

Research Areas:

Evolutionary genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, biochem/physiology

Major Professor: 

James H. Leebens-Mack

Associate Professor

My research employs genomic, phylogenetic and experimental analyses to investigate the genetic and ecology processes that influence diversification. Specific interests include the molecular genetics of diversification including speciation; the molecular basis of adaptation; the evolution of genome structure; genomic processes influencing gene family evolution; the evolutionary consequences of species interactions; and the coevolution of genes interacting in regulatory and developmental pathways.

Phylogenomics employs genome scale sequence data to resolve organismal relationships and investigate gene family evolution within the context of organismal relationships. Our lab uses phylogenomic approaches to explore the ecological, genetic and developmental processes that contribute to phenotypic diversification and speciation. We focus most of our attention on the evolution of reproductive characters in flowering plants. Much of our research involves phylogenetically based analyses, and we are working with collaborators to develop new empirical and analytical tools to extend the use of phylogenetic methods in comparative genomics. These tools form the foundation for comparative studies aimed at testing the degree to which characterizations of gene function and regulatory networks in model systems are applicable to other plant species.