Our lab addresses a fundamental question in biology: how do novel phenotypic traits originate and diversify in nature?

Our study organisms have been primarily beetles in the genus Onthophagus. We have also begun to address related questions in other organisms, in particular the beetle family Lampyridae (fireflies, lightening bugs) and Drosophila, and are open to add additional organisms to our repertoire.

Research areas

  • Developmental Mechanisms and Regulation in Eukaryotic Systems
  • Evolution
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics

I am an evolutionary developmental biologist broadly interested in understanding why and how developmental evolution has unfolded the way it has, why and how novel complex traits originated when they did, and the future of developmental evolution on a rapidly changing planet.


The developmental genetic basis of morphological innovation

  • The developmental evolution of size, shape, and position
  • The developmental evolution of sex differences AND The origin and diversification of environment-sensitive development
  • The developmental evolution of phenotypic integration
  • Innovation through team building
  • Innovation via environment engineering
  • Causes and processes in evolution: Reconceptualizing the evolutionary process in the age of eco evo devo

Research Interests: developmental mechanisms and regulation in eukaryotic systems; evolution genomics and bioinformatics

Subject Area

  • Biology
Molecular Biology, Biological Science, Animal Science, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science
PhD, Duke University, Biology, 2002
MS, Julius-Maximilians-Universit├Ąt, Germany, Zoology, 1996
BS, Julius-Maximilians-Universit├Ąt, Germany, Biology, 1992