Lab News: Trips and Visitors

I returned from a wonderful trip to India last week where I helped teach a population genetics workshop at the International Center for Theoretical Sciences at the Tata Institute in Bangalore.  Organizers Deepa Agashe and Kavita Jain did a fantastic job putting together the workshop and attached discussion conference.  I was able to meet lots of great students and researchers (a highlight was Kumarasamy Thangaraj who has done lots of great work on the population genetics of India).  Moreover, getting to spend time with the other instructors (Brian and Debra Charlesworth, Mike Whitlock, and Michael Desai) was a treat.  Afterwards, Richard Gomulkeiwicz and I stayed an extra day and gave talks at the National Center for Biological Sciences, and while there I caught up with Uma Ramakrishnan, a colleague of many years.  The NCBS has fantastic facilities and it’s clear there is a cadre of young faculty in Bangalore, like Deepa, Kavita, Uma, and Krushnamegh Kunte (and I’m sure others I didn’t meet) that are  making it an interactive and exciting place to do science.

In other lab news, I’m excited to announce Enrique Lessa has just arrived to my lab as a sabbatical visitor.  Enrique hails from the Evolution faculty at the Universidad de la Republica in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is a population geneticist who has worked extensively on the mammals of South America, particularly the fauna of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and closer to Uruguay, the diverse and curious genus of tuco-tucos.  Enrique has long been interested in methodological issues in population genetics – from methods to survey DNA polymorphism to data analysis/interpretation problems (one of his most cited papers is on interpretation of multiple dimensional scaling of geographical data – a topic close to home for us here).  I first met Enrique in Berkeley (where he was once a postdoc with the legendary Jim Patton) – and then got to know him better in my visits to Uruguay.  It’s going to be a real pleasure to have his company here over the upcoming months.

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