Current projects at LMU include the exploration of the possible role of hybridization in the evolution of photosynthetic pathways.
Using a transcriptomic data set we found that hybridization seems to be a driver of C4 evolution in Flaveria (Asteraceae; prime model of C4 photosynthesis evolution) and likely promoted the fast acquisition of C4 traits.
I am also working on generating a target enrichment data set of Salsoloideae (Amaranthaceae) to shed light into the phylogenetic relationships and C4 evolution of the clade
Part of my postdoc at UMN focused on adapting paralog processing methods designed for genome and transcriptome data to target enrichment data.
I used an automated, tree-based approach for orthology inference in a target enrichment data set of Alchemilla s.l. By taking paralogs into consideration, I identified four nodes in the backbone with an elevated proportion of gene duplication and established the autopolyploidy origin of the entire Alchemilla and the nested allopolyploidy origin of four clades within the group.
Also during my postdoc at UMN, I explored sources of gene tree discordance in the backbone phylogeny of the plant family Amaranthaceae s.l, using phylotranscriptomic analysis in combination with reference genomes.
I found that a combination of processes might have acted simultaneously to generate high levels of gene tree discordance in Amaranthaceae s.l. This suggests that the backbone of Amaranthaceae s.l. might be a product of ancient and rapid lineage diversification.
For my doctoral dissertation, I combined natural history collections with a plurality of phylogenetic methods to elucidate the reticulate evolutionary of the neotropical plant genus Lachemilla in the rose family.
I found widespread patterns of phylogenetic discordance as a product of polyploidy (autopolyploidy and allopolyploidy) as well as ancient hybridization among major clades of Lachemilla.
As an undergrad, I developed a keen interest in plant taxonomy and herbarium curation. My main taxonomic focus has been the genus Lachemilla, for which I have described six new species as part of a ongoing collaborative effort to a comprehensive monograph of the group.
As part of my international collaborative network, I helped to design and analyze a target enrichment data set to explore gene tree conflict and character evolution in Caprifoliaceae.
We have carried out analyses at the family level, and also have explored biogeographic patterns and reticulate evolution of key plant genera in of the Asian Flora (e.g., Abelia, Diabelia, Lonicera).
I have been involved in other collaborative works to develop chloroplast markers for phylogenomics analyses in other plant groups like Thalictrum, Castilleja.
Currently, I also collaborate in phylotranscriptomic analyses focusing on the adaptation to aquatic and marine habitats in Alismatales, gene duplication in monkeyflowers, and C4 evolution in the Salsola divaricata agg.