Luke McNally has joined the Centre in November 2012
I am interested in the evolution of mechanisms for the regulation of individual and collective behaviour. While we know a lot about the factors selecting for complexity in multicellular organisms, there has been little exploration of adaptive explanations for the complexity of regulatory mechanisms at the cellular level. Many bacteria show complex patterns of behavioural regulation in response to ecological, demographic and abiotic variables (e.g. via quorum-sensing, stress responses, etc.), with the traits under such regulation often being important determinants of virulence. I am using a combination of theoretical models and comparative bioinformatics to examine how factors such as generalism, sociality and horizontal gene transfer affect selection on these regulatory systems. Ultimately the development of a functional understanding of such regulatory systems has the aim of informing the design of “evolution-proof” anti-virulence treatments.
West Mains Road,