I am an evolutionary biologist broadly interested in reproductive ageing, nongenetic parental effects, sexual selection and life-history theory. My postdoc work addressed an important but understudied aspect of reproductive ageing: declining ejaculate performance with male age. I used a short-lived tractable animal model, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to investigate sperm - and seminal fluid -mediated male reproductive ageing and interventions to delay it.
Now, as a BBSRC Discovery Fellow, I am interested in understanding how paternal age and paternal diet epigenetically influence the fitness of the offspring. Recent evidence suggests that a father’s age and diet can have important effects on offspring physiology. These studies highlight that paternal effects are likely to be powerful determinants of offspring fitness, yet many important questions in the study of paternal effects remain unanswered, such as why and how they occur. I use fruit flies to identify the causal relationship between paternal age, diet and offspring fitness, and to uncover the sperm-mediated epigenetic mechanisms driving these relationships.
My group also studies the transgenerational effects of gametic ageing and experimentally tests the predictions of life-history and ageing theories. I am a member of the Biology ECRN committee and I am a Graduate Student Mentor within the department. If you are interested in joining the lab, please do get in touch!