M O I L A B
genetic evolution & global change
Our questions and mission How mutations at the genetic level ultimately lead to ecological adaptation? Can we predict complex traits such as fitness and disease from an organism's genome and environment? Can we use novel molecular biology technology to understand the mechanisms of climate adaptation? Can we deploy new technologies to track and diagnose species and ecosystem declines and reliably guide sustainability policies?
Expertise and group research Our lab has experience in evolutionary molecular genetics, plant ecology, and computer science. Some of our work has dealt with understanding the rate at which new DNA mutations occur per generation, and what is the ecological relevance of genetic variation along the genome. We have pioneered the creation of geographic maps cataloging genetic variation of a species to anticipate the differential threats of climate change to its different populations. An important current project of the lab, co-coordinated with François Vasseur (CNRS) and Niek Scheepens (U. Frankfurt), is a distributed global evolution experiment, GrENE-net.org, which aims to test the evolvability of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana in many climates around the world. Using the same model, we are trying to direct adaptation in the lab using genome editing in plants grown under stressful conditions. We hope our efforts to fundamentally understand evolution of complex traits with genetic engineering tinkering will have not only an impact in ecology but also our understanding of complex human traits.
We strive for a diverse and inclusive lab and scientific community, and stand by the Black Lives Matter movement denouncing racism and xenophobia.
Affiliations and locations The lab is located at the Department of Plant Biology of the Carnegie Institution for Science, based in Stanford University, where we are also co-affiliated to Stanford's Department of Biology