This year the biology department welcomes two new faculty members, Ronald Bassar and David Loehlin.
Ron starts in the Fall 2017 semester as Assistant Professor. Ron is an evolutionary ecologist and comes to us following post-doctoral research at the University of Oxford with Tim Coulson studying the ecological and evolutionary consequences of competitive interactions. He was previously a post-doctoral research at the University of Massachusetts with Ben Letcher studying the population dynamic consequences of climate change on stream fishes. He did his graduate work at the University of California, Riverside with David Reznick. His graduate work focused on testing the ecological effects of evolutionary change in natural populations of Trinidadian guppies. At Williams his research will focus on how evolutionary change influences species coexistence.
David starts in the Fall 2017 semester as Assistant Professor. David did his post-doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the laboratory of Sean Carroll. His work focuses on the genetic changes behind adaptive evolution, in particular how the alcohol metabolisms of Drosophila fruit flies have changed in species with high- or low-alcohol diets. One notable finding was that duplication of a gene (such as the Alcohol Dehydrogenase enzyme) does not necessarily result in a doubling of gene expression, a finding with potential relevance to understanding certain human genetic disorders. David did his graduate work at the University of Rochester in the laboratory of Jack Werren. His graduate work determined the genetic basis of size and shape changes that differentiate species of Nasonia, a parasitoid wasp. At Williams, his research will focus on evolutionary and molecular mechanisms that influence duplicate gene expression and that determine how a gene’s expression level is shaped by adaptation.