Aditi Jayaraj profileAditi Jayarajan

PhD student, Biology Department

I am broadly interested in the themes of evolutionary biology and population genetics. My current research is focused on bat populations in the Caribbean islands. I plan to use fossil data, ancient DNA, morphology and genetics in order to advance our understanding of how populations are structured and how they evolve over time.

In the past, I worked at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India. My research was focused on examining the factors which impact distribution and diversification patterns of frogs, lizards and snakes across the Western Ghats in India. I also love photographing the natural world and thinking about science.

Niyomi Wijewardena profileNiyomi House
PhD student, Biology Department

My research interests are historical biogeography/phylogeography of mammals and their ectoparasites. More specifically, I use molecular data from ectoparasites to infer historical host movement. I find ectoparasites to be particularly interesting because of their exposure to the outer environment as well as its host’s body. This property helps us uncover the effects of historical climate change and other external variables on both the host and the parasite. My current project involves studying human head lice to infer evolutionary histories of humans. I plan to sequence whole lice genomes and use sophisticated methods to understand the distribution of lice lineages across the world. This will allow us to understand relative gene flow across these lineages and ultimately provide insight into when and where anatomically-modern humans came into contact with archaic hominins.