My long-term interests are in the evolution of biological complexity, such as that apparent in complex life histories, in intimate interactions among species, and in species-diversity of clades and communities.
My focus is on symbiosis, particularly that between multicellular hosts and microbes.
Eske Willerslev (EW) is the Prince Philip Professor of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Cambridge and director of the Centre of Excellence in GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark and University of Copenhagen.
Research in our lab combines both computational and experimental approaches to address a broad range of topics in Evolutionary and Functional Genomics including: (1) Determining the evolutionary benefits of sex and recombination (2) Investigations of large scale changes in patterns of gene expression on evolving sex chromosomes: Dosage compensation of X-linked genes and silencing of Y-linked genes by heterochromatin formation (3) Comparative & functional genomics of young Y chromosomes in Drosophila and mammals (4) Sexual antagonistic variation and feminization & masculinization of evolving X chromosomes (5) Quantifying the mode and strength of selection acting on coding and non-coding DNA in the Drosophila genome (6) Population genetics of Tetrahymena thermophila.
We apply experimental, comparative and computational approaches to investigate the factors contributing to the evolution of bacterial genomes and microbial communities. Some of our current projects investigate:
The role of adaptive and non-adaptive processes in bacterial genome evolution
The causes and consequences of genome reduction in bacterial pathogens
The origins of new genes and functional complexity
The microbial community diversity residing in Great Ape hosts