I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Betancourt Lab in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour, Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool.


Research Interests

My research examines the evolutionary dynamics of transposable elements in the model fly Drosophila. I am interested in using genomics to understand how these mobile genetic elements launch successful invasions into host populations, and how their hosts evolve in response.

Academic background

I gained my BA in Biological Sciences at the University in Oxford in 2011, where I developed a strong interest in evolutionary biology and entomology. I conducted my honours research project on spider behavioural ecology in the Oxford Silk Group in the Department of Zoology.

After working for around 18 months as a teacher, I undertook an MPhil in the Hughes Lab in the School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex. My project investigated the effects of parasites on the behaviour of social insects, and furthered my interest in the ecological and evolutionary interactions between parasites, symbionts and insect hosts.

After this, I began my PhD at Liverpool and made the switch to genomics, which fostered an increasing interest in bioinformatics and computational biology. My PhD research focused on the genetics of mosquito sex determination, using bioinformatic and synthetic biology approaches to understand the structure and content of the Aedes aegypti Y chromosome-like sex-determining region known as the M locus. The ultimate aim of the project was to gain an understanding of which genes are responsible for determining whether Aedes aegypti mosquitoes become male or female, and what other genomic features are involved in maintaining sex-specific chromosomal regions. In addition to being interesting from an evolutionary point of view, this could potentially be applied to existing and novel control strategies targeting this important arbovirus vector (for instance, enhancing genetic control techniques by facilitating sex-specific effects).

Other interests

As a scientist, I am committed to pursuing responsible science and using science and technology to contribute towards creating a sustainable, peaceful, and just society. I am interested in promoting gender equality, nuclear disarmament, and encouraging the scientific community to end support for arms manufacturers and polluting industries. As a non-specialist, I also have a strong interest in a number of social and political issues including migrant and refugee solidarity, antiracist and antifascist activities, and homelessness support.