Previous Lab Members
Stephane Boissinot, PhD. Professor of Biology
I am an evolutionary biologist whose research addresses fundamental biological questions using the tools and concepts of population genetics, molecular evolution and comparative genomics. My main research interests are the evolution of transposable elements, the phylogeography of east African taxa and the evolution of resistance to viruses. I was member of the faculty at Queens College (City University of New York) until 2014. I joined NYU Abu Dhabi in January 2015. CV
Jacobo Reyes-Velasco, PhD
I am originally from Colima, Mexico and obtained my PhD in Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2015. My current research focus on the adaptation of east African frogs to life at high elevations, as well as phylogeography and systematics. Previously I have worked with systematics and phylogeography of new world snakes, as well as the evolution of venom. I joined the Boissinot lab in July 2015.
Robert Ruggiero, PhD
I am interested in genetics, genomics, evolution and computational biology. In addition to my broad interests in how genetic sequences allow individuals and populations to develop and thrive, I am specifically interested in understanding how repetitive sequences contribute to genome structure, activity, and evolution. Repetitive elements constitute the largest genomic fraction in most large organisms and can influence many aspects of ontogeny, physiology, and evolution. However, repetitive elements present many novel technical, computational, and theoretical challenges and therefor remain under-investigated relative to their potential biological importance. In the Boissinot lab, our studies in comparative and evolutionary genomics leverage high-throughput sequencing, computational biology, and the genetic diversity of wild populations towards the goal of generating robust evolutionary inferences about genome dynamics. While I find this work intrinsically fascinating, I am also motivated by the possibility that a more comprehensive understanding of the fundamental mechanisms governing genome dynamics has the potential to transform and expand our understand of biology in a way that significantly improves future biomedical research.
Yann Bourgeois, PhD
I am interested in understanding how selection acts on polymorphism and diversification in natural populations, by combining genetics and genomics with the study of environmental variations and ecology. My thesis in Toulouse dealt with the genetic bases of color variations in an endemic bird from Réunion island, Zosterops borbonicus. I used a variety of approaches such as classical population genetics, candidate genes studies, RAD-sequencing, but also GIS and niche modelling.
During my previous post-doc in Dieter Ebert's team at Basel University, I added host-parasite interactions and how they affect genomes to my list of interests. I also collaborated on various projects such as the study of evolutionary radiations on archipelagoes in Tetragnatha spiders, museomics of Crowned pigeons from New Guinea (Goura), or evolution of the Foudia genus in the Mascarenes. I joined the Boissinot lab in September 2016, where I focus on how selection and hybridization act on genomic structural variation and polymorphism in a variety of Vertebrates.
Sandra Goutte, PhD
I am broadly interested in the evolution of behavior and functional morphology in anurans, with a focus on acoustic communication. By integrating empirical and experimental data in a phylogenetic framework, I investigate the factors that may have led to the diversity of communication systems we observe today.
I have previously worked on frog acoustic communication and hearing in Asia and South and Central America. I joined the Boissinot lab in February 2018 where my main focus is the acoustic communication of African frogs.
Justin Wilcox, PhD.
I have a passionate interest in elucidating the principles and mechanics governing the population biology, community ecology, and evolution of symbionts and their hosts. Recent advances in sequencing technology have provided radically new insights into the genetic architecture of vertebrates while simultaneously revealing them as hosts to intricately-complex communities (i.e. microbiomes) of parasites, commensals, and mutualists. These discoveries have provided an unprecedented opportunity to study the evolution of these symbionts and their vertebrate hosts and to assess the universality of existing evolutionary and ecological theory across the tree of life and the divide between free-living organisms and the communities that they harbor. My current research seeks to capitalize on these opportunities by applying genomics-based approaches to answer questions of diversification, selection, and genetic architecture in falcons and their associated communities of symbionts. In pursuing this research, I am informed by prior research experiences, including the study of bird song as an undergraduate at Knox College, the study of invasive carp and their parasites during the completion of my Master’s thesis at Eastern Illinois University and my completion of a doctoral dissertation on the community composition, populations genetics, and phylogenetics of symbionts in long-tailed macaques of Southeast Asia at the University of Notre Dame.