Matt Pennell will join the Department as an Associate Professor of Quantitative and Computational Biology starting August 16th, 2022. Matt earned his Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from the University of Idaho and then moved to the University of British Columbia to be a Killam/NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow and subsequently, a faculty member in the Department of Zoology. In his research, he uses phylogenetic trees, graphical depictions of historical relationships, to study evolution at multiple scales—from the grandest (e.g., the origin of major groups of organisms) to the smallest (e.g., the transmission of viruses and the development of the adaptive immune system within an individual) of scales. While superficially disparate, these projects all revolve around a few common themes: he aims to define the outer boundaries of our knowledge and understand what we can and cannot learn about evolution from different types of data. In recognition of his contributions, he was awarded the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Prize from the American Society of Naturalists, and a Canada Research Chair from the Government of Canada.
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