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Short bio:

I was born in north-western Pennsylvania in 1971. In the autumn of 1990, after free-lancing as a photographer, I enrolled in the B.Sc Environmental Sciences program at the State University of New York (College at Purchase) with a focus in Environmental Organic Chemistry. At the start of my third year I took a course in vertebrate evolution. During the course I realized that I wanted to study evolutionary biology. In the autumn of 1993 I transferred to the University of Maryland to pursue my studies in evolutionary biology. I earned my B.Sc degree in 1995.

After completing my undergraduate studies I continued with post-graduate studies at Maryland in the Department of Zoology and at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Laboratory of Molecular Systematics. Between 1995-1998 I was a Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian.

In the fall of 1998, I began my Ph.D. work on experimental evolution and statistical phylogenetics with John Huelsenbeck at the University of Rochester, New York. I earned my Master of Science degree in 2000 in Evolutionary Genetics and then my


Ph.D. in October of 2004. After completing my Ph.D. I moved to the University of Copenhagen, Denmark to work with Rasmus Nielsen on a number of problems in statistical genetics. I worked in Denmark from the autumn of 2004 until the spring of 2008. I then moved from Copenhagen to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland to work with Andrew Leigh-Brown and Andrew Rambaut on the evolutionary dynamics of influenza.

From late 2010 to 2016 I accepted a position as an tenure-track Assistant Professor at a new research institute in Austria (IST Austria). I was at the time a young researcher and couldn't pass up up the opportunity of a life-time to be a part of building a new research institute, rather than going for a more traditional track. Soon after I was asked by the Institute President to act as the Deputy (or Vice) Programme Chair of the Graduate School. I served in this status, between 2010 and late 2014 when I stepped down. During this time I was tasked by the President with creating a new and "interdisciplinary curriculum" producing for the time a great programme that taught interdisciplinary research but built a deep knowledge of the individual's research field.   

I moved to the University of Liverpool (Institute of Integrative Biology) in 2016 as a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor). My move was motivated by the vibrant research environment in biology.

Research interests:

My research focuses on understanding evolutionary constraints. To better understand constraints my group focuses on four focal areas: horizontal gene transfer (HGT), gene regulation, costs and benefits of immunity, and the properties of mutations. See my Research pages for more info...


Senior Lecturer

  • 2016 — Current

  • Functional and Comparative Genomics, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, UK

Assistant Professor

  • 2010 — 2016

  • Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), Austria

Post-doctoral Researcher

  • 2008 — 2010

  • Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK

  • Advisors: Andrew Leigh-Brown & Andrew Rambaut

Post-doctoral Researcher

  • 2004 — 2008

  • Department of Biology, Evolutionary Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Advisor: Rasmus Nielsen

Ph.D. Evolutionary Genetics

  • October 2004

  • University of Rochester, USA

  • Advisor: John P. Huelsenebeck

  • Thesis title: Experimental bacteriophage evolution and theoretical systematics

M.Sc. Evolutionary Genetics

  • December 2000

  • University of Rochester, USA

  • Advisor: John P. Huelsenbeck

B.Sc. Biology

  • August 1995

  • University of Maryland, USA

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Curriculum vitae:

My CV can be downloaded as a PDF here:

Contact details:

Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour
Institute of Infection, Veterinary, and Ecological Sciences
University of Liverpool
Biosciences Building, Room 305
Crown Street
Liverpool, L69 7ZB, UK

T: +44 151 795 4526



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