Prof. Alexei Maklakov
Professorial Research Fellow
Organisms and the Environment
Research in our lab revolves around fundamental questions in evolutionary biology:
Why do organisms age?
Why do males and females have different life-histories?
More specifically, we are interested in the evolution of life histories, conflicts between the sexes and sexual dimorphism. These questions are often intimately linked: for example, to understand sexual dimorphism in longevity, one has to combine evolutionary theory of ageing with sexual selection theory. We work on a variety of different organisms: roundworms (e.g. C. elegans), beetles (e.g. C. maculatus), fruit flies (e.g. D. melanogaster), birds (e.g. Collared Flycatchers) and humans, since our research is generally driven by the question rather than by the organism. Much of this work involves experimental studies in laboratory with small, fast-reproducing creatures but we also utilize privately or publicly available databases when it comes to populations of wild animals or humans.
The main focus of our current research is the evolution of ageing, which is a fundamental and, as yet, unresolved issue in biology. We pursue this line of research both theoretically and empirically using experimental evolution, next-generation sequencing, behavioural assays, long-lived mutants, gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi) and long-term studies of natural and human populations.
Currently we are very interested in:
i) understanding the role of age-specific nutrient-sensing signalling in ageing
ii) the trans-generational effects of lifespan extension on offspring fitness
iii) the evolution of sex differences in lifespan and ageing