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Research interest and projects
As an 'ecologist gone genomics' I am interested in the genomic signatures of the entire history of species, from speciation, past demography towards domestication, inbreeding, hybridization and selection. During my PhD I investigated genomic variation within wild boar, domesticated pigs and closely related species to detect signatures of selection, inbreeding and hybridization. This work resulted in my thesis "The hybrid nature of pig genomes". As postdoc in a Breed4Food-STW partnership program I worked on the prediction of deleterious variation in livestock. We aimed to go beyond mutations in coding sequence to predict phenotypic effects of variants.
Currently I have a permanent position as expert in the novel field of Conservation Genomics and work on my NWO-funded VENI project 'What makes inbreeding so depressing?' in which I bridge the gap between livestock and wildlife genomics, using newly developed genomics tools in conservation of threatened populations and species. I also have an ongoing collaboration with NIOO and the great tit hapmap consortium on the genetics of great tits (Parus major).
I am fascinated by the story about our history that is written in our DNA. Reading the genome as a history book reveals a wealth of information about the past - but also holds promises for the future. I gladly share my fascination about genomics research to a broader, non-scientific audience through public lectures, news items, workshops and other means.