My research is at the intersection of evolutionary biology and computer science. Evolution is a powerful algorithm that can be implemented in a computer to create a population of evolving digital organisms. I use this idea to ask biological questions and enable biological education.

Symbiosis is a fundamental biological dynamic where individual organisms from at least two different species engage in a long-term and close interaction. This dynamic is likely responsible for the mitochondria that power your cells and the microbes that maintain or harm your health. However, the evolution symbiosis is challenging to study and so I developed the digital evolution library Symbulation to enable the study of many forms of symbiosis. Symbulation is the first digital evolution library to enable the study and comparison of multiple forms of symbiosis.

In addition, evolution acceptance and understanding is a large concern in modern biological education. Digital evolution techniques, which enable real evolution to be observed in a computer hold great promise as educational tools, as already demonstrated by the Avida-ED project. I modify existing games to add evolution to improve players’ intuitive understanding of the evolutionary process.

See my Google Scholar profile for my publications and an overview of my main projects below.