Welcome to Angus Davison's lab website.
I am an Associate Professor and Reader in Evolutionary Genetics in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham. I run a research lab, teach undergraduates and supervise postgraduates. I am also the Careers Officer for the Biology group of degrees. This is my lab home page, otherwise see my University home page, LinkedIn page or @angus_davison.
In my lab, we use snails as a comparative model to understand evolutionary and developmental genetics. In one project, we are using snails to understand the left-right symmetry breaking event that takes place during early development, using both lab and field-based studies: just how is chirality determined at the molecular level? In another project, we are investigating the evolutionary origins of supergenes, using the charismatic snail Cepaea. Finally, as snails are one of the most speciose groups, we are using new technologies to understand how this biodiversity has come about, by investigating a model adaptive radiation of snails in subtropical Japan (Ogasawara). All of these projects are technology led: new DNA sequencing techniques are enabling us to do what was not possible only a few years ago.
"Nature is often complicated" is the opening line from Bryan Clarke's 1979 paper "The evolution of genetic diversity" (Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 205, 453-474).
BBSRC DTP-funded PhD positions December 12th deadline
I have two BBSRC funded positions in my lab, closing date 12th December. Note that applications MUST be submitted through the DTP by Monday 12th December 2016, but applicants should ideally contact me for more information. Both projects are open to students who qualify for UK Research Council funding. Applicants should have, or expect to get, a First Class or Upper Second degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Further experience, including a Masters degree, is likely to be advantageous.
The first project, formally titled "The evolution and genetics of being sinister: from chiral shells to chiral cells", but less formally "A chance to study the most famous snail in the world, the shellebrity Jeremy", is competitively funded through the 'Molecules, Cells and Organisms' stream of the Nottingham BBSRC DTP.
The second project, no less interesting, but without a shellebrity snail is "From pests to paradise: control and conservation of molluscan biodiversity" and is competitively funded through the 'Agriculture and Food Security' stream of the Nottingham BBSRC DTP.
Jeremy loves a lefty
Quick update on our quest to use Citizen Science to find a mate for Jeremy, our ultra-rare left-coiling garden snail, with more to follow.
Our shellebrity snail has found love, not once but twice! He/she featured once again all over the news. Listen again to the full R4 Today Interview or see a selection of the newspaper and internet coverage. BBC News, BBC News, BBC R4 Today, BBC R4 Pick of the Week, CBBC Newround, BBC TV East Evening News, BBC TV East Midland Evening News, Telegraph, Mirror, Daily Mail, NPR, Metro, CBC, RTE Ireland, The Atlantic, Celebrity Yahoo, Techcrunch etc (more links to follow). Frankly, it has all gone a bit bonkers.
Jeremy, the shellebrity snail
A brown garden snail called Jeremy may seems the unlikeliest of celebrities, yet his story recently caused a media sensation. In October, we appealed to the public for their help in match-making for Jeremy, who with a left-handed, anti-clockwise spiraling shell is a mirror image of other brown garden snails. We needed the offspring from Jeremy and another left-coiling or sinistral snail to be able to study the genetics of this rare condition, which may offer valuable insights into a common understanding of body asymmetry in other animals, including humans.
Origins of left and right
Our article on the origins of left and right in snails and frogs is featured on the front cover of the journal (image: Ester de Roij) and in a Dispatch article written by Florian Madersprecher. The article has also featured on many different science news sites, including Nature, TheAtlantic, Wall Street Hedge, Christian Science Monitor, Smithsonian, Nottingham Post, La Razon, LaInformacion, El Economista. Snail asymmetry is also quite popular on Twitter and the article has also been rated as "exceptional" on Faculty of 1000.