2019 has been a big year! Lots of travel in the past few months, lots of years-long projects coming to fruition, and some very exciting papers out or soon to come out. With so much news to share, it seemed timely to finally put a website up to collect everything in one place.
Travel! Over the last few months I have had the great fortune to touch three continents talking about some of my favorite topics with some of the most brilliant minds across multiple fields. In August, I attended the first ever Genome 10K-Vertebrate Genomes Project-Earth BioGenome Project joint meeting in NYC, where I spoke on advances in vocal learning epigenomics and co-chaired a half-day session on comparative genomics. In September I attended the Lorentz Center's Unifying Vocal Learning workshop in Leiden, NL, which brought together experts in subjects ranging from human linguistics to elephant vocalizations to generate novel ideas on the comparative study of speech and vocal learning across species. In October I attended the 4th annual Manakin Genomics Research Coordination Network meeting in Curitiba and the Salto Morato Natural Reserve in Parana state, Brazil. I was delighted to catch up with this fantastic, international team of experts and see hundreds of incredible species of birds dancing and singing in this pristine patch of the extremely biodiverse and highly threatened Atlantic Rainforest. As co-leader of the Genomics Working Group, I spoke about the status of manakin genomic resources and our exciting upcoming paper (more on this in a few months!). A week from today, I'll be traveling to Chicago for my 10th visit to the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting. I'm very excited to present for the first time some of my work on the epigenomics of vocal behavior in mammals, including extensive ATAC-seq data collected from multiple brain regions in Rhesus macaque and Egyptian fruit bat. If you'll be attending, I'd love to tell you more about it! Find me on Tuesday, Oct 22, presenting from 11am - 12pm at 498.12 / R15.
Papers! Last week I was overjoyed to have a perspective paper hit the presses in Neuron, A Modular Approach to Vocal Learning: Disentangling the Diversity of a Complex Behavioral Trait. This paper presents ideas I have been working on for the better part of a decade on the mechanisms underlying vocal behavior, with helpful feedback from an all-star team of fellow vocal / motor learning experts. It sits in great company, as part of a special Society for Neuroscience issue on Take a look at my short Twitter summary here, and if you'll be attending SfN next week you can pick up a free copy at Neuron's publisher's booth (#101)! This is just the first of some very exciting papers I'm looking forward to seeing the light of day over the next several months, so stay tuned!
With that, it's back to work - lots of analyses to finish and writing to do, including my first forays into the academic job market(!). It's as competitive as it's ever been, but I'm optimistic for a number of reasons that the field of neuroscience as a whole is gaining a renewed appreciation for the power of comparative, evolutionary approaches to the study of behavior, which is exactly the kind of work I'm most excited to do. Wish me luck, and I'll keep you updated on how things go.