I am interested in exploring the mechanisms of molecular evolution. I use microbes as models and focus on computational and experimental testing of evolutionary hypotheses in three major areas:
1) Origins of parasitism: Reconstructing the evolutionary emergence of parasitism, mechanisms of cell invasion, and associated metabolic pathways by methods of next-generation sequencing and comparative genomics, with a primary focus on apicomplexans (malaria parasites and relatives) and how they compare to other parasites.
2) Origins of endosymbiotic organelles: Providing insights into the origins of plastids and mitochondria by using comparative genomic approaches and molecular research on little known eukaryotic lineages - microalgae and heterotrophic protists.
3) Origins of complexity: Computational approaches to understanding the role of horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotic evolution and its relationship to protein-protein interactions, the effects of trans-splicing on genome evolution, and the evolution of introns and non-canonical genetic codes.
Doctor of Philosophy
|University of British Columbia|
Jan is an evolutionary biologist who joined UCL GEE in January 2016 as an Excellence Research Fellow. He started his career with MSc research on the significance of newly discovered photosynthetic relatives of apicomplexan parasites (with M. Obornik at Univ. of South Bohemia, Czech Republic). Jan followed up on this topic with his PhD research on the origin of apicomplexans from free-living protists (with P. J. Keeling at University of British Columbia, Canada). Following a short postdoctoral appointment at UBC, he continued with a two-year postdoctoral research on protist symbionts of corals (with F. L. Rohwer at San Diego State University, USA) as a CIFAR Global Scholar Fellow.