Dr. Tracy Heath

Assistant Professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Teaches: BIOL 211
Tracy Heath

The field of computational phylogenetics is inherently interdisciplinary and advancements in the theory of phylogenetic inference can have far-reaching implications on a wide range of important biological questions. I am currently focusing my research on developing, testing, and applying methods for fully integrating genomic data and information from the fossil record to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships, estimate divergence times and rates of molecular evolution, and investigate patterns of diversification and phenotypic evolution. In general, my work contributes to research investigating fundamental questions in evolutionary biology, including:

  • How have rates of molecular and morphological evolution changed across the tree of life?
  • What are the forces that cause variability in rates of evolution?
  • How do patterns of fossilization, preservation, and recovery change across different taxa?
  • Can we detect relationships between geological events and species diversification?
  • What are the evolutionary processes acting on different regions of the genome and how have those factors shaped the evolution of different genes?
  • What are the genetic underpinnings of closely linked species interactions (e.g., mutualisms)? 


Area of Expertise: 
Statistical Phylogenetics
B.A., Biology, Boston University, 2000
Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Texas at Austin, 2008
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Kansas & University of California, Berkeley, 2008-2014
243 Bessey Hall, 2200 Osborn Drive