Microbes represent the vast majority of eukaryotic diversity, yet we have barely scratched the surface of this extraordinary reservoir of genetic information. Without such information, it is currently impossible to comprehensively understand important evolutionary transitions of the eukaryotic cell. In my group, we are looking at the fascinating diversity of microbial eukaryotes to understand major events in the evolution of eukaryotes, such as the origin and spread of plastids or the reductive evolution of mitochondria.
Our current projects are:
- Reconstructing a dated eukaryotic tree of life combining phylogenomics and micropaleontology, with particular focus on plastid evolution from a host perspective.
- Genomics of orphan eukaryotes, and the placement of those in the tree.
- Comparative genomics of Ascetosporea (Rhizaria), a diverse but overlooked protistean parasitic group of aquatic invertebrates.
- Development of new high-throughput means to look into eukaryotic diversity, including amplicon sequencing with long read SMRT sequencing (PacBio).