The majority of my time is allocated to studying the evolution of threespine stickleback. I am particularly interested in the evolution of sexual dimorphism, both at the morphological level and also at the physiological level. My Academy Fellowship project is specifically devoted to this topic. I am using a systems biology approach to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in sexual dimorphism. Initially, we are using proteomic techniques and DNA microarrays to examine gene expression in males and females under normal conditions as well as during mating activities and during development. Using bioinformatics tools we can identify expression networks that differ between males and females and further investigate how genes are regulated differently during different life stages in the two sexes.
Additional stickleback projects include studying the heritability of gene expression (with Craig Primmer and Juha Merilä), the response to thermal stress in threespine stickleback (with Craig Primmer and Juha Merilä), the molecular response to parasitism (with Michael Bell), and the molecular differences in the brain of different ecotypes (with Michael Bell).