Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Trinity College Dublin
The most exciting thing that's happened this year in my research area:
The first full genomes of sharks were sequenced this year!
This told us new things about how appetite, sleep, and our immune systems evolved, and how sharks added defences against cancer work, as well as how sharks sense of smell and vision evolved, and how body sizes evolve in animals.
My latest work:
Exploring new genetic approaches to help build the animal tree of life.
Understanding how animals are related to each other gives us a map with which to understand how and when important traits have evolved, e.g. brains, limbs.
To do this we look at genes from different species to work out how they are related to each other. My work currently is focused on using our understanding of how our genes evolve to work out these relationships.
My favourite misconception about my area of science:
That humans are ‘more’ evolved than other species, or that they have evolved from other species that are alive now.
All living species have evolved for the same amount of time and are specialised in their own way and adapted to their environment. For example, we often consider ourselves as being extremely intelligent, but other species have evolved their own unique traits, e.g. plants can make their own ‘food’ from sunlight.