I am a scientist with the Department Evolutionary Theory at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön. My research combines mathematics with empirical data to understand some of the myriad ways in which ecology and evolution interact across multiple levels of biological organization.
My primary interest is in microorganisms: spatially localized autocatalytic sets of molecules and chemical reactions, aka cells, interacting with their environment through geo- and biochemical processes, allowing individuals to interact with each other in populations, which in turn can be part of larger communities. These eco-evolutionary dynamics take place in a diverse range of environmental arenas, and the evolving entities are shaped by, and are shaping, those environments.
Microbiota and Symbiosis. Sometimes the environmental arena of evolution happens to be another organism. I study the resulting multilayered dynamics of populations that reside in other organisms, which are themselves part of a dynamic host population.
Host-Virus Coevolution. Viruses are responsible for the turnover of vast amounts of biomass, but they also help maintain diversity and facilitate horizontal gene transfer. I am interested in antagonistic coevolution, but also in the beneficial effects viruses can have on their host populations.
Evolutionary Theory. While I usually aim to connect my theoretical work as directly as possible to empirical data, I also enjoy exploring more abstract models of evolutionary processes. This includes analyzing mathematical models from a dynamical systems point of view and by computational methods.