I completed my B.Sc. Hons degree in Genetics and Cell Biology in Dublin City University in 2016. I also worked in the lab of Dr Tim Downing for my final year research thesis. In my final year research project I analysed and corrected errors present in the assembled genome of the protozoan parasite Leishmania adleri, in order to understand the evolutionary basis of host specificity in this strain of Leishmania.
My research interests include comparative genomics, phylogenetics and animal evolution. The research involved in my PhD is looking at a number different aspects of animal evolution, including the role of rare genomic events (gene fusion events) in the evolution of complex traits in animals and their potential use as phylogenetic markers. Additionally, I am carrying out a large scale phylogenomic analysis within animals, by analysing publicly available genome sequence data and reanalysing previously published sequence data from studies involved in animal phylogenetics. In doing so I hope to reassess contentious regions in the Animal Tree of Life, where there is debate over the branching order of particular clades or relationships between certain taxa.
By taking a data quality approach, ensuring the highest quality and most informative data is analysed, and by applying sophisticated models of sequence evolution, which have not previously been applied to these questions, we hope to resolve some of the contentious nodes within the animal tree.
- BA Genetics and Cell Biology