BioSciences & Bio21 Institute
University of Melbourne
Dr Robin’s research focusses on the genetic basis of adaptation of insects to foreign compounds, primarily insecticides. Insecticides protect people from insect borne disease and provide food security but can also be major environmental pollutants that threaten biodiversity. They perturb natural biological systems at multiple levels – from ecosystems to physiologies, and thereby allow to interrogate these systems. The components of particular interest to Dr Robin’s group are the genes, their transcripts, the proteins they encode, particularly the enzymes, their metabolites, and the foreign chemicals that perturb natural populations. In understanding how these components vary within and between species his research includes hunting for molecular population genetic signals of adaptation and the molecular evolution of gene families encoding detoxification enzymes. A systems genetics approach should ultimately improve pest insect management strategies.