Luciano Matias Matzkin
Associate Professor, BIO5 Institute
Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Associate Professor, Entomology
Understanding how genes and genomes are shaped over many generations by the environment in which organisms live in. We also aim to examine how these changes accumulate and might facilitate the genetic divergence between populations and eventually possibly the origin of species. Lastly we aim to leverage the power of genomics to understand the evolution of insecticide resistance in agricultural pests and to find solution to their management.
Our lab investigates how the ecology of a species shapes patterns of variation at multiple levels (genes, pathways, transcriptomes, genomes, physiology, behavior and life history), how populations adapt to environmental shifts (natural or human created), how genetic architecture can dictate the evolutionary trajectory of populations, the implication of ecological adaptation in the process of speciation and the role of sexual selection and sexual conflict in the evolution of reproductive incompatibilities. Our research revolves around these fundamental aspects of evolutionary biology. We work on a group of cactophilic Drosophila that inhabit the deserts of North America. These Drosophila species are an excellent system to study given that their ecology is well understood and the fact that we can perform many genetic, genomic, manipulative and life history experiments. In addition to utilizing the cactophilic Drosophila system we have ongoing projects on the agrigenomics of the agricultural pests, Drosophila suzukii (spotted wing Drosophila) and Helicoverpa zea (corn earworm). Keywords: Evolutionary, ecological and agricultural genomics