Sarah (Sally) Otto
B.Sc. Stanford 1988; Ph.D. Stanford 1992
Understanding how evolution has led to the remarkable diversity of life is the key motivating force behind my research. Mathematical models allow us to determine which evolutionary transitions are plausible, which are probable, and which are impossible. In particular, we have been using models to investigate the evolution of:
- Genomic architectures - How do recombination rates/mutation rates evolve? How do chromosomes evolve?
- Ploidy levels - When are haploid or diploid life cycles favored by evolution?
- Mating systems - How does the mode of reproduction evolve?
In addition to mathematical modeling, my research group carries out experimental evolution with yeast, as well as comparative data analyses, resulting in over 180 publications and a book.
Current work increasingly focuses on the extent to which organisms can adapt to a changing world and why they might fail to do so.
I serve as co-liaison of the Species at Risk Advisory Committee for Canada and am Director of the Liber Ero Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program, which supports exceptional post-doctoral researchers doing research on pressing conservation issues for Canada.