Christina Bergey’s research aims to understand how organisms adapt to their environment with a focus on the evolution of complex, polygenic traits. To do so, her group uses population, evolutionary, and functional genomic approaches to understand the effects of past selection on modern medically-relevant phenotypes, testing evolutionary hypotheses in humans, non-human primates, and disease vectors. More broadly, Dr. Bergey and her team want to understand how ecological, behavioral, cultural, or anthropogenic factors impact adaptive evolution.
Bergey’s current major projects include:
1. Investigating human adaptations to life in the rainforests of Africa, including the evolution of small body size (the “pygmy” phenotype) in rainforest hunter-gatherers,
2. Understanding the co-evolution of malaria with its human and primate hosts and mosquito vector, and
3. Exploring how primates have adapted to their environments with a particular focus on gene flow between species in Africa.