The mammalian placenta is an unusual organ in that it fulfils the same functions in all species but exhibits a great degree of morphological and develomental diversity. My research has reconstructed the course of evolution of the placenta across hundreds of mammalian species and identified the relationship between morphological diversity and reproductive life history (including the role of the placenta in supporting maternal-fetal immune interactions and fetal brain development). My current research uses a functional phylogenomic approach to identify gene networks and regulatory systems involved in placental diversification with the goal of identifying the evolutionary genetic basis of human placental pathologies such as preeclampsia, hydatiform mole and choriocarcinoma.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Software

  • dirPIC calculates independent contrasts for traits evolving under Brownian motion with directional drift.
  • StableTraits is software for fitting stable models of character evolution to continuous traits evolving on phylogenetic trees.
  • C++ code for approximate log PDF of the univariate symmetric stable distribution using cubic interpolation Source code.