A warm welcome our two new lab members, Emma and Massimo. Emma is a visiting postdoc who will be modelling the establishment of new inversions in a population. And Massimo has joined both Isabel Gordo’s lab and our lab as a PhD student. He will be building a gene-based mathematical model to investigate the mechanisms and effects of evolutionary change on the dynamics of mammalian microbial communities regarding their stability, diversity, interactions, and effects on the fitness of the host.
The lab of Liedewij Laan from the Department of Bionanoscience at the TU Delft joined us for a mini-symposium of one day on Tuesday 16. January – full of great presentations and concluding in a cosy Tapas-dinner in the center of Lisbon.
The picture below shows our lunch at the IGC
The last couple of weeks have been so busy that I am only now catching up with posting our lab news, including welcoming our two new lab members, Mark and Alexandre. Mark is a biochemist who will be visiting the lab during the next few months for an exchange about the evolutionary versus biochemical implications of empirical fitness landscapes. Alexandre has joined us as a postdoc; he is an evolutionary modeler who is particularly interested in the role of Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities in speciation and hybridization.
A lot will be going on in the lab in September and October, and this only the beginning:
Claudia will be spreading the word about some of the beautiful things we are doing during next week’s The Ecology of Genome Evolution Symposium at Uppsala University in Sweden.
Inês is leaving us tomorrow and will spend the whole month working in Dan Bolon’s laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
And last but not least, Hermina is presenting a poster about hybridization dynamics in ants on EMBO Young Scientists’ Forum, which is happening today and tomorrow at the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon.
Registration is now open for a training course in evolutionary modeling in the framework of the GTPB, which will take place at the IGC in November (make sure to allow some extra days for sightseeing and surfing). Below is a description of the course, or read the extended version (and apply quickly – there are only 20 spots!) here.
Applied Evolutionary Theory
A hands-on introduction to creating and analyzing models of evolution
with Claudia Bank (IGC), Rafael Guerrero (Indiana University) and Stephan Peischl (University of Bern)
For many of its history, our knowledge of evolution has been based heavily on theoretical models and hypotheses. In the age of novel experimental and technological approaches, we are now increasingly able to evaluate this theory; however, the basics of how and why to develop and analyse a simple model are often forgotten in the process of NGS analysis. This course aims at training evolutionary biologists in classical modelling and teach them ways to approach their own research questions through evolutionary theory.
Primarily through interactive hands-on sessions, complemented by an introduction to the cornerstones of modelling and its application to data analysis, this course will familiarize the participants with ways of approaching a research question with a simple model, and different strategies at gaining insight from the model. In groups of two, course participants will develop and analyse their own toy model in the course and present their findings to the group on the last day.
Topics that will be covered in the course include the following:
Why and how are models useful?
How to write down/develop a model
How simple/complicated should a model be?
Which modelling approach/programming language should I use for my question?
How to nail down a question with a model
Extracting results from an equation/simulation
How to evaluate a model using empirical data
Participants can use their preferred programming language during the hands-on sessions, and free access to Wolfram Mathematica will be provided. The instructors have modelling experience using Mathematica, R, Python, and C++.
Welcome to Mariana, who is a student in biological engineering at the technical university (Instituto Superior Técnico) and who has joined the lab for a summer internship to work on the characterization of empirical fitness landscapes.
Our lab has created a fun board game called “Walk of Life” to explain fitness landscapes for the IGC kiosk at the NOS Alive festival. Andreia, Claudia, and Inês will be there playing the game and answering your burning questions about fitness landscapes on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th of July. To make sure you find us, here is a map of the festival; the IGC kiosk is labelled “12”.
Last week Inês presented her and Claudia’s recent work in collaboration with Pedro Simões and Margarida Matos at the 2nd Annual Meeting of the Centre for Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Changes (Encontro Anual cE3c 2016).
Check out a teaser of her poster below!
This past few days Claudia and Inês went on a trip to Montpellier to both give a talk at the Mathematical and Computational Evolutionary Biology (MCEB) meeting!
Great discussions, some sunny weather (and even a little bit of swimming) and a lot of interactions and new ideas marked 4 days of this small but really cool conference.