Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BA Knox College; MS Eastern Illinois University; PhD University of Notre Dame
Research Areas: Falcon Genomics, Molecular Ecology, Parasitology, and Microbiome
Justin Wilcox is a molecular ecologist, evolutionary biologist, and parasitologist with a passionate interest in elucidating the principles and mechanics governing the population biology, community ecology, and evolution of symbionts and their hosts. Recent advances in sequencing technology have provided radically new insights into the genetic architecture of vertebrates while simultaneously revealing them as hosts to intricately-complex communities (i.e., microbiomes) of parasites, commensals, and mutualists. These discoveries have provided an unprecedented opportunity to study the evolution of these symbionts and their vertebrate hosts and to assess the universality of existing evolutionary and ecological theory across the tree of life and the divide between free-living organisms and the communities that they harbor. Justin’s current research seeks to capitalize on these opportunities by applying genomics-based approaches to answer questions of diversification, selection, and genetic architecture in falcons and their associated communities of symbionts. In pursuing this research, he is informed by prior research experiences, including the study of bird song as an undergraduate at Knox College, the study of invasive carp and their parasites during the completion of his Master’s thesis at Eastern Illinois University, and the completion of a doctoral dissertation on the community composition, populations genetics, and phylogenetics of symbionts in long-tailed macaques of Southeast Asia at the University of Notre Dame.