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The biosphere is a network of interacting species that connects organisms across all scales, from microbes to mammals. Knowledge of the mechanisms underlying these relationships, and the evolutionary forces that shape them, is fragmentary. My lab has pioneered the study of rove beetles (Staphylinidae) as a model clade to break open basic problems in organismal interactions. Most of the >66,000 known rove beetle species are free-living predators, found in leaf litter and soil habitats spanning the globe.
Epithelial organs adopt precise structures during development that must be rapidly repaired in
response to injury. My lab uses zebrafish skin as a model system to understand the molecular
and cellular basis of epithelial organ development and repair. Skin contains a heterogeneous
mixture of cell types—including stem cells, sensory cells, and immune cells—that together
bestow the organ with its remarkable durability and touch sensitivity. In this talk, I will highlight
Basic scientific research is often geared towards the biology of humans or more experimentally tractable organisms that share biology with humans. However, evolution has run many experiments distinct from human biology resulting in groundbreaking innovations (CRISPR, GFP, PCR, optogenetics and many more). Here, I will highlight how studying a broader range of organisms can shift our understanding of the rules of life and impact our ability to engineer it.