Christopher Balakrishnan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at East Carolina University. Broadly speaking, Dr. Balakrishnan uses a comparative approach to study molecular evolution, speciation, and the mechanisms of social behavior. He received his Ph.D. in 2005 from Boston University, where he studied sympatric speciation in brood parasitic finches. As postdoctoral fellow, he began studies of population genomics in zebra finches, an important model system native to Australia. Dr. Balakrishnan played a key role in the effort to sequence and characterize the genome of the zebra finch, the first songbird to be sequenced. Most recently, Dr. Balakrishnan co-led the effort to sequence the genome of the white-throated sparrow, an unusual species in which two behavioral “morphs" are stably maintained via balancing selection acting on a “supergene”. Although respected for his research accomplishments, he is perhaps most well-known for being the founder of Nerd Nite, a series of light-hearted lectures held at pubs around the world.
Abstracts this author is presenting: