I am a PhD candidate at Deakin University with the Centre for Integrative Ecology (Waurn Ponds campus). My research interests currently lie with revealing the mechanisms involved in vertebrate phenotypic variation and the drivers of evolution – specifically, glucocorticoid signalling.
Glucocorticoid Signalling and Phenotypic Trait Divergence in Vertebrates
This project aims to evidence the role glucocorticoids (GCs) have in driving trait variation and prompting novelty, evaluating the capacity of plasticity within the GC signal for causing functional phenotypic variation during vertebrate ontogeny, and how this directly adapts or constrains an organism’s phenotype to its environment across its life-history. It uses zebrafish (Danio rerio) for manipulative experiments (single and transgenerational) examining signal component correlations and transactivation of target gene expression.
Can physiological engineering/programming increase multi-generational thermal tolerance to extreme temperature events?
Here, we tested the capacity of physiological engineering and programming to influence the intra- and multi-generational upper thermal tolerance capacity of a model organism, Artemia, subjected to extreme high temperature exposures. Enhancement of specific physiological regulators during development could affect thermal tolerances or life-history attributes that affect subsequent fitness. Our results suggested phenotypic engineering is possible but with complex outcomes, as multiple thermal tolerance traits can be affected by heat hardening, and the effects amplified with addition of physiological mediators, both within and across generations.