I am an evolutionary ecologist. My research interests are in the area of physiological and genetic life-history trade-offs; particularly in understanding how organisms evolve to defend themselves against attacks from other organisms and how they trade-off the costs of those defences with life-history traits such as longevity and reproduction. I use a combination of behavioural, physiological, quantitative and molecular genetic approaches to address these questions, using insects as model systems.
My major focus is on the costs of immunity: Which factors have shaped the evolution of immunity in insects? Immunity to parasites and pathogens is an important life history trait. Natural selection should favour individuals with stronger immune systems. However, trade-offs could alter the optimal level of investment in immunity, and patterns of investment may be further influenced by the nutrients available in the diet.
Module coordinator for Animal Nutrition
PG cert Higher Education Teaching
— Queen’s University Belfast, 2015
— University of Stirling, 2002
BSc Zoology (Hons)
— University of Liverpool, 1997