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David Enard will be talking about his research at this CEMinar. He studies ancient epidemics through the lens of host genomic adaptation, and develops new methods to better quantify genomic adaptation in general. He is currently focusing on adaptation in human populations and on bats.
In the past decade, population genetics research has undergone a remarkable paradigm shift as Kimura’s classic “neutral theory of molecular evolution” has been swept aside in light of new research that finds that adaptation is pervasive across animal genomes. The magnitude of this revelation has made clear that population geneticists know very little about the selective pressures in the environment that have been powerful enough to drive staggering levels of adaptation at the genomic level.
His lab examines the intersection of quantitative evolutionary genomics and environmental and ecological contexts to give a broader understanding to the recent developments in the field. We focus specifically on the interplay between diseases and adaptation. We do this by leveraging the power of genome-wide approaches to study the role of natural selection in the evolution of infectious diseases in humans and other mammals. This research program is articulated around two main axes: (I) the development of novel methods to quantify adaptation genome-wide and (II) the identification of the ecological causes of adaptation with in particular the study of ancient epidemics.