Alice Dennis

Adaptive Evolution and Genomics

Deciphering the genomic basis of adaptive variation, by comparing genetic and physiological variation among populations and species

Prof. Alice Dennis PhD

UNamur, Department of biology, Research Unit in Environmental and Evolutionary Biology (URBE)

Member of the Institute of Life, Earth and Environment (ILEE)

Research portal UNamur  |  ORCID  |  ResearchGate  | Personal website

Expertise and research interests

Prof. Alice Dennis holds a PhD in Biology from Louisiana State University (USA). After holding research positions in New Zealand, Switzerland, and Germany, she joined the UNamur in January 2022 where she established her research group on Adaptive Evolution and Genomics. She also maintains several ongoing projects with the University of Potsdam, Unit of Evolutionary Biology and Systematic Zoology.

The work in the Dennis lab centers on the genomic basis of adaptive evolution. They address this by examining population structure and adaptive differences between closely related populations and species. Using whole genome sequencing and comparative transcriptomics, they seek to identify the molecular basis of key adaptive differences. This is integrated with studies of comparative physiology, experimental evolution, and field surveys. With this, they aim to build a comprehensive picture of how adaptive differences arise in nature and in the their molecular basis.

Group members

PhD student: Jessica Ody

Research projects

  • ONGOING Using whole genome assemblies to understand ecological differentiation in a cryptic species complex (Melampus). Ongoing PhD thesis by Jessica Ody. Under the supervision of Prof. Alice Dennis, UNamur, ILEE/NARILIS.

Selected publications

Obbard DJ, Shi M, Roberts KE, Longdon B, Dennis AB. A new lineage of segmented RNA viruses infecting animals. Virus Evol. 2020 Jan 17;6(1):vez061.

Lüthi MN, Vorburger C, Dennis AB. A Novel RNA Virus in the Parasitoid Wasp Lysiphlebus fabarum: Genomic Structure, Prevalence, and Transmission. Viruses. 2020 Jan 3;12(1):59.

Dennis AB, Ballesteros GI, Robin S, Schrader L, Bast J, Berghöfer J, Beukeboom LW, Belghazi M, Bretaudeau A, Buellesbach J, Cash E, Colinet D, Dumas Z, Errbii M, Falabella P, Gatti JL, Geuverink E, Gibson JD, Hertaeg C, Hartmann S, Jacquin-Joly E, Lammers M, Lavandero BI, Lindenbaum I, Massardier-Galata L, Meslin C, Montagné N, Pak N, Poirié M, Salvia R, Smith CR, Tagu D, Tares S, Vogel H, Schwander T, Simon JC, Figueroa CC, Vorburger C, Legeai F, Gadau J. Functional insights from the GC-poor genomes of two aphid parasitoids, Aphidius ervi and Lysiphlebus fabarum. BMC Genomics. 2020 May 29;21(1):376.

Dennis AB, Patel V, Oliver KM, Vorburger C. Parasitoid gene expression changes after adaptation to symbiont-protected hosts. Evolution. 2017 Nov;71(11):2599-2617.

Dennis AB, Dunning LT, Sinclair BJ, Buckley TR. Parallel molecular routes to cold adaptation in eight genera of New Zealand stick insects. Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 10;5:13965.

Dennis AB, Hellberg ME. Ecological partitioning among parapatric cryptic species. Mol Ecol. 2010 Aug;19(15):3206-25.