I am an evolutionary biologist with interests and expertise in genetic research on the speciation process. My research has included many different systems over the years, from African violets to Hawaiian plants, and among animals, from polar bears to walruses. In every case, my research has been focused on the genetic basis for how species evolve, and most particularly on the effects of hybridization in this process. My work on bear genomes, for example, has demonstrated that polar, brown, and black bears reproductively intermingled at different points in their evolutionary histories, likely sharing genetic variants that could have been put to adaptive use in the genomes of recipient species. My studies of the native Hawaiian members of the mint family, Lamiaceae, have similarly shown that interspecies gene transfer has contributed to the process of diversification in that magnificently variable plant lineage. I received my PhD from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark - working on African violet molecular systematics - and thereafter I performed postdoctoral research at the University of Oslo in Norway. I have been an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo since 2010, where I recently received notice of pending promotion to Associate Professor.