2020 Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellowship recipient Julia Kreiner uses population and quantitative genomic approaches to study the rapid evolution of plant populations to the continuing conversion of our landscapes to agriculture.
I use population and quantitative genomic approaches to study the rapid evolution of plant populations to the continuing conversion of our landscapes to agriculture. I have developed Amaranthus tuberculatus, common waterhemp, as a system to study the evolution of herbicide resistance in weeds, and by incorporating sequenced herbarium specimens, will resolve the timescale and dynamics of agricultural adaptation over the last 200 years.
Why did you decide to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at UBC? Did you consider other opportunities?
UBC was my top choice for postdoctoral research. It is one of the foremost research institutes in Canada, and the Biodiversity Research Center offers a highly integrative environment between research in ecology and evolutionary biology. I'm excited to collaborate with leaders in my research fields, while being surrounded by some of the most exquisite biological scenery in the world.
What specifically attracted you to your research group?
Dr. Sally Otto sets the bar for research in evolutionary biology. I aim to learn from her perspective and evolutionary thinking on topics ranging from viral evolution to species conservation, and allelic interactions. Research from Dr. Loren Rieseberg's lab has led the way for the study of weed evolution and my work has been inspired by and follows from many of the hypotheses they have put forward. Collaborating within both of these research groups will allow me to both broaden my research toolkit and also dig my heels into the mechanistic basis of adaptive processes in agricultural weed populations.
What advice do you have for new postdoctoral fellows?
I'm just starting out, but what has been important for me so far is following up on the research that excites me most, and pursing opportunities that push me outside my comfort zone.
What do you like to do for fun?
What really hooked me to research in EEB was the chance to connect with the outdoors. I love being outdoors, from cycling (both on and off-road), hiking, canoeing, playing tennis, to hanging out on the beach. I couldn't be more excited to be in Vancouver for these reasons!
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your postdoctoral fellowship?
I'm thrilled to meet new people and take on new perspectives in my own research. It is immensely satisfying to be able to follow up on questions I developed in my PhD and take them in the directions I am most excited about.
What does receiving this award mean for your career?
The fellowships I have received to conduct my research at UBC are the first step towards establishing myself as an independent researcher. It really allows me to pursue the research I am passionate about and hopefully propels me forward into developing my own research program and establishing my own research group.