Activities in the Whitehead lab revolve around Environmental, Ecological, and Evolutionary Genomics research. These lines of research seek to understand how genomes integrate cues from, respond to, and are shaped by the external environment. We examine genomic responses to stress that occur over physiological timescales (acclimation responses) and over evolutionary timescales (adaptive responses). Many complementary approaches are integrated into our program, including genome expression profiling, population genetics/genomics and phylogenetics, and physiology, to study how individuals and species respond to and adapt to environmental stress. Stressors of interest include those that are natural (temperature, salinity) or of human origin (pollutants, climate change). We have both a basic science angle to our research program, and also an applied angle that leverages genomic information to diagnose and solve environmental problems. You can find our lab in the Department of Environmental Toxicology at the University of California Davis – Davis is situated on land that for thousands of years has been the home of the Patwin people.
We value science as a powerful method for understanding how nature works, and we value the role that science can play in promoting a world that is more just for humans and for non-human creatures. We strive for rigorous, transparent, important, and reproducible research. While conducting our scientific inquiry, we are committed to providing a safe, supportive, inclusive, and harassment-free environment for everyone. We value freedom of expression while respecting the views of others. We strive for critical thinking and discussion, but try to be mindful of how our unique experiences and privilege shape our world view, and seek to be thoughtful, considerate, and compassionate toward others. We value diversity in its many forms (gender, ethnic, disability, economics), in part because we believe that diversity enriches the scientific enterprise, but more importantly because embracing people for who they are and where they come from is of deep intrinsic moral value.