We study diverse topics in evolutionary genetics, but focus on the evolution of populations that are distributed through space, and that experience natural selection on many genes.  Understanding how species adapt, and how they split into new species, requires knowledge of the effects of spatial subdivision; conversely, spatial patterns can tell us about the strengths of evolutionary processes that are hard to measure directly.  Interactions between large numbers of genes are important in species formation, in the response to natural and artificial selection, and in the net effects of selection on the whole genome.  The recent  development of techniques for assaying large numbers of genetic markers, and indeed complete sequences, make analysis of the interactions amongst large numbers of genes essential.



From left to right:
1st row: Maria, Eniko, Christelle, Harald, Himani
2nd row: Srdjan, Miso, Nick, Melinda, Stefi, Lenka, Gemma
Unfortunately missing:
Dasha, Anja
From left to right:
Christelle, Melinda, Srdjan, Katka, Nick x2, Harald, Rok, Eniko, Lenka, Barbora, Tiago, Himani
Unfortunately missing:
Maria Clara, Stefanie Belohlavy

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Lab News

March 2018

  • 1st March: We had a group dinner in a small Heuriger in Kierling and said farewell to two members of our group, Maria Clara Melo and Harald Ringbauer. Maria continues her life in Brisbane and Harald in Chicago. Saying goodbye is always hard but we are sure it was not the last time we have seen each other. We wish them all the best!

December 2017

  • December 13th: Harald Ringbauer, who works on inference of population structure from genetic data, successfully defended his PhD today! His thesis committee consisted of Christoph Lampert as internal and John Pannell from University of Lausanne as external committee member. John visited IST for Harald's defense. In addition, he gave a great talk on evolution of selfing and outbreeding in plants and had fruitful discussions with several group members.

October 2017

  • October 6th: Stuart Baird visited IST today. He gave a seminar talk on a method to process population genomic data, and a new way to compress typical NGS data. He also had productive meetings with Nick and many group members.

June 2017

  • June 30th: Jonathan Pritchard visited IST today. He gave a great seminar talk on a method to infer recent selection on highly polygenic traits, where he also discussed the overall highly polygenic architecture of human traits and the recently proposed "omnigenic" model. Besides that, he had interesting meetings with Nick and several group members.

May 2017

  • May 25th: Today, Lenka Matejovicova successfully passed her qualifying exam! In her PhD with the Barton group, she will analyze floral color patterns in Antirrhinum (common name: Snapdragon). She will investigate variation beyond the known major flower color loci, and develop novel computational tools for this.
  • May 18/19th: Nick and many members of the Barton group attended the IST Evolutionary Biology Retreat 2017, a joint retreat with the Vicoso, Cremer, Guet and Tkacik groups. Located at the picturesque Schlosshotel Zeilern, the groups introduced each other to their research, presented ongoing work and exchanged ideas, with the aim to foster collaborations in the future.

January 2017

  • January 30th: Patricia Wittkopp visited IST Austria and the Barton group today. Besides giving a colloquium talk, she had fruitful discussions with various group members. A central theme was the current understanding of the evolution of gene regulation.
  • January 26th: Another passed qualifying exam! Stefanie Belohlavy took this important step towards her PhD by successully presenting her plans to a committee consisting of Reinhard Bürger and Nick. Her work will focus on Quantitative Genetics, in particular how the Infinitesimal Model relates to sequence data from artificial selection experiments. Congratulations!

  • January 25th: Rok Grah, a PhD student shared between the Barton, Guet and Tkacik group, successfully passed his qualifying exam. Congratulations!
  • Many members of the lab attended PopGroup50 in Cambridge. Nick Barton, Stefanie Belohlavy, Harald Ringbauer, Himani Sacheva, Barbora Trubenova gave talks about their recent work; Maria Clara Melo and Eniko Szep had poster presentations.