My lab has two main research interests. First, we wish to understand the evolutionary and genetic bases of both social behaviors and non-social phenotypes of insect societies. As a model system, we use the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, a notorious invasive pest ant. Second, we are studying genetic conflicts and their evolution using Caenorhabditis nematodes. We use behavioral, chemical ecological, evolutionary genetics, genomics, and molecular approaches in our studies.
Our current research questions include:
- How does the fire ant social supergene work to specify a defining feature in ant social organization, whether colonies are headed by only one queen or by many queens?
- What genes regulate fire ant sex determination?
- What is the genetic basis for female-biased sex ratios in Caenorhabditis nematodes and how has it evolved?