Thomas Mathers

Postdoctoral scientist


I am an evolutionary biologist that uses comparative genomics, phylogenomics and population genomics approaches to understand evolutionary processes and the emergence of important adaptive traits.

At EI I am working in collaboration with colleagues at JIC and UEA on a BBSRC funded project to understand the functional genomics of aphid adaptation to multiple plant hosts. In this project we are using genome sequencing, transcriptomics and epigenomics to understand how single clonal genotypes of the generalist aphid crop pest Myzus persicae are able to successfully colonise distantly related host species.

Also at EI, I am leading an Institute Development Grant funded project to gain a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind evolutionary transitions to generalism in aphids using two aphid genera, Myzus and Brachycaudus, as a model system. Generalism has evolved multiple times during aphid diversification and many of the most destructive aphid crop pests are generalists. I will therefore sequence the genomes of multiple specialist and generalist Myzus and Brachycaudus species to create a rich resource for comparative genome analysis to better understand this economically important trait.

Before joining EI I completed my PhD at the University of Hull where I investigated the evolution of alternative sexual systems and sex chromosome evolution in tadpole shrimps using population genomic and comparative phylogenetic approaches.