Heath Blackmon received his Ph.D. in 2015 from the University of Texas at Arlington where he studied the evolution of sex chromosomes and karyotypes in Coleoptera and other invertebrates. He then transitioned to a postdoc for two years at the University of Minnesota. In Minnesota, he worked on a variety of projects spanning theoretical population genetics and macroevolutionary methods.
His lab will focus on evolutionary genomics with a particular concentration on understanding the dynamics of sex chromosome evolution. Despite the pivotal role, that sex chromosomes play in development the long-term fate of sex chromosomes remains poorly understood. For instance, why are old Y chromosomes lost in some species but not others? What forces interact to determine the fate of diverged sex chromosomes? How do the forces created by sex chromosome evolution interact with other genome structural features?
Dr. Blackmon is a U.S. Air Force veteran and will be starting a research experience program for undergraduate veterans that are returning to school. This program is part of an NSF-funded grant focused on improving the development of phylogenetic comparative methods. The students that take part in this project will learn bioinformatic skills that can be applied in graduate school or industry. Additionally, this program will provide a sense of belonging to students that often face challenges in integrating into a campus community.
Visit the Blackmon Lab website for more information: https://coleoguy.github.io/