My approach to biological research has always crossed traditional boundaries with a strong conviction in the "comparative approach", be it at the molecular, cellular, or organismal level. I believe our knowledge of biological processes is too strongly biased by our willingness to accept the rat, mouse, or tumor cell line as "model systems". The central question which drives my research is: "In what way are the fundamental structures and functions of living systems adaptively modified to allow organisms to exploit the diversity of habitiats and to maintain the radically different modes of life we observe in nature?" Along these lines there are two major research programs currently in our laboratory. The first involves elucidating the mechanisms of sex determination especially in those species without sex chromosomes. The second involves biochemical and physiological adaptations which allow the utilization of unique marine food sources, such wax esters and chitin.
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