I am interested in the evolution of development. Specifically, I am interested in how developmental pathways diversify via gene duplication events. My research draws from the strengths of several fields (genetics, development, and phylogenetics) to understand the evolution of developmentally important genes.
Gene duplications are a prevalent feature of eukaryotic genomes. Understanding the evolution of gene duplications is important to our understanding of genetic redundancy and the evolution of new gene function. My current research involves the investigation of two developmentally important duplicate genes that regulate male (stamens) and female (carpels) organ development in flowering plants, using the grass family as a model system. The grasses are an excellent system because of the substantial amount of genetic, morphological, and evolutionary work that has been done on this group. We are also extending our research to other angiosperms that have experienced similar, yet independent, duplications of key reproductive organ genes.