Pisani Lab

Our research is at the interface of molecular and organismal biology. We are interested in the application of comparative genomics (including novel genomic markers – e.g. microRNAs) to investigate key problems in organismal evolution. Currently addressed problems include early animal evolution and the evolution of sensorial reception (particularly vision) in early animal evolution. A major driver of this research line is to understand the factors that caused the animals to radiate only during the Cambrian despite their early (Cryogenian) origins. Further to that we are interested in the evolution of the Ecdysozoa, particularly the Arthropoda, and the process through which arthropods colonised the land. Finally, we are extremely interested in early evolution, which underpinned the origin of the major prokaryotic lineages and eukaryogenesis. We are not, however, only interested in comparative genomics; a strong focus of our  group is in the development of novel phylogenetic methods and analytical protocols. These include supertree methods, methods to distinguish phylogenetic from non-phylogenetic signals, and approaches to differentiate homologous from homoplastic similarity in morphological data sets.