Faculty & Research
Erik B. Dopman
Evolution and Genetics of Natural Populations
2007-2009 NIH-NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow; Harvard University
2005-2007 Postdoctoral Fellow; Harvard University
1999-2005 Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Cornell University
1994-1998 B.S., Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation; University of Texas at Austin
Graduate Research Areas:
Ecology, Behavior and Evolution and
Genetics and Molecular Biology
A fundamental problem for biology is to understand phenotypic and species diversity.
Ernst Mayr wrote that two distinct disciplines provide a conceptual framework for
tackling this issue: functional biology and evolutionary biology. Mayr argued that
while the functional biologist might be interested in how genetic and phenotypic
variation arises, the evolutionary biologist is preoccupied by why it occurs in
the first place. That is, in the factors promoting and maintaining variation.
The Dopman lab applies a unified framework and seeks both functional and evolutionary
explanations for diversity in nature. Our studies draw on approaches from numerous
disciplines (ecology, genomics, physiology, molecular genetics), often in the context
of adaptive evolution and the origin of species.
Current interests include: "speciation genes" and reproductive isolating barriers;
reproductive protein evolution; sex bias and sex chromosome evolution; dormancy and
seasonality; and organismal resilience to climate change.
Further details can be found on the
lab web page.
Research can be an important part of the undergraduate student experience and can lead to
new and unexpected career opportunities. Undergraduate students who are highly motivated
and are interested in doing evolutionary genetics research should contact Dr. Dopman.
Students who wish to receive course credit or working in the lab during the summer should
contact Dr. Dopman well in advance of the semester/summer when they would like to work on
Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact Dr. Dopman and to apply to the
Tufts Biology Department Ph.D. program. Information about how to apply and financial aid is
available at the department website. As a graduate student, you should develop your own
questions and dissertation projects under my guidance. My role is to guide you through the
intellectual journey you will be undertaking by placing your work in a broader context. Your
job is to work hard and keep the lines of communication open. Graduate students should
participate in activities such as the departmental seminar series and lab meetings. I would
also encourage students to develop collaborations and side projects with other faculty and
students with whom they share research interests.
Prospective postdoctoral applicants should send a CV and summary of graduate research to
Dr. Dopman. Please include contact information for three references. We can then discuss
our interests, potential projects that we could develop, and avenues of funding. Tufts University
has internal funds for postdocs through the Training in Education and Critical Research Skills
(TEACRS) Program. This NIGMS-funded IRACDA program is designed to prepare talented young scientists
for the multiple demands of an academic career in biomedical research.
Bio 143: Evolutionary Biology
Bio 244: Graduate Seminar in Evolutionary Ecology
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