PhD Candidate, Department of Genetics and Genome Biology, University of Leicester, University of Leicester
I am a PhD student at the University of Leicester. I am studying the genomics of social organisation, focusing on the genomic basis of polymorphic social organisation in ants. Specifically I am investigating the evolution of "social chromosomes", which function similarly to sex chromosomes but control the number of reproductive queens in ant colonies.
More generally I am interested in the major transitions in evolution, and the common themes in the evolution of new levels of biological organisation (for example the transitions from individual replicators to whole genomes, from single-celled to multicellular organisms, and the transitions from free-living to eusocial insects) and their subsequent elaboration.
Have you have seen ants this year? In Britain, they were probably black garden ants, known as Lasius niger Europes most common ant. One of somewhere between 12,000 and 20,000 species, they are the scourge of gardeners ...