DTC 2022: Video Training for Research Impact, Academic Engagement and Science Communication


  • BBSRC Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP
  • University of Oxford
  • Video 4 Impact – DTC – 2022

I am primarily interested in the intersection of evolutionary and developmental biology, particularly an integrated understanding of how phenotypic changes, adaptations, are driven by mutations in the genotype and selected for by natural selection. In the lab of Dr Berta Verd, I am investigating the evolution of the axial skeleton in Lake Malawi cichlids, a remarkably behaviourally, ecologically and critically, morphologically diverse group of teleost fish that has undergone an explosive adaptive radiation over the last one million years. Despite their diversity, the flock is genetically very homogenous and has a remarkably low per generation mutation rate. However, despite the relatively recent divergence and lack of genetic diversity, species within the flock have evolved variation in their axial skeletons, including in total vertebrae count and vertebral ratios. My current work as a DPhil (PhD) student focuses on applying geometric morphometrics to quantify vertebral shape and identity in collaboration with Dr Roger Benson (Earth Sciences) and integrate this with embryonic axial patterning and in vivo gene expression studies to understand how axial skeleton diversity has emerged in Lake Malawi cichlids.

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