I am lecturer and biological sciences researcher based at Edinburgh Napier University. My research covers a wide range of topics, including evolution, sexual selection, animal communication, ‘gene drives’ (genes that bias the mechanisms of inheritance to favour their own transmission), the representation of women in STEM careers, and ‘meta-science’ (i.e. research about the process of science itself). I combine empirical work on insects such as fruitflies and social insects (bees/ants/wasps) with theoretical models, modern genetics methods (e.g. GWAS, methylome sequencing, transcriptome sequencing), meta-analysis, and computational text mining of large datasets. Currently, I am engaged in research on a large dataset (the UK BioBank, with genome sequence data on 500,000 subjects) to better understand the evolutionary genetic basis for human disease. I am also examining the role of DNA methylation in controlling development into a queen or a worker in honeybees.
Following my BSc and PhD at the University of Sheffield, I won a Marie Curie Fellowship and moved to Copenhagen University, where I made major advances in the study of queen pheromones in the social insects, publishing a dozen papers on this topic. I then moved to Australian National University in Canberra, initially as post-doc and then later as an independent researcher funded by a 3-year Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) fellowship. My research in Canberra focused on sexual selection and diverse topics in evolutionary biology, and I published 24 papers while on the fellowship. In 2016, I was appointed to a permanent Senior Lecturer position at the University of Melbourne, where I continued to conduct evolutionary biology research and win grant funding, as well as teaching regularly on evolution and genetics. At Melbourne my research group focused on empirical research on fruit flies and honeybees, as well as computational topics.
I moved to Edinburgh Napier University in January 2021. Thus far I have primarily focused on evolutionary genomics analysis of large datasets from humans, fruit flies, and honeybees, as well as developing our teaching in the subject areas of animal behaviour, research methods, and statistics. I have lead two modules, namely Research Methods (which comprises a dissertation and also statistics and R coding), and Animal Behaviour (which comprises lectures, tutorials, coursework and an essay assignment). I also lecture in Advances in Animal Behaviour (on specialised topics in behavioural ecology), Scientific Enquiry (on statistics), and Genes & Inheritance (on population genetics), supervise 4th year Research Project students, and co-teach the Portugal field course for Terrestrial Field Biology.
I am also the Commissioning Editor of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, a busy role that involves commissioning special features for the journal. I am also active in the scientific society associated with this journal, the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (e.g. I chair a scheme called the Progress Meetings in Evolutionary Biology, which competitively funds research synthesis meetings).
Please see my personal webpage, www.lukeholman.org, for more information.