Vinson Doyle

In search of Colletotrichum in northern Maine.  

I earned my Ph.D. from the New York Botanical Garden and the City University of New York - Graduate Center and joined the Brown Lab shortly thereafter.  I am drawn to biology by the vast diversity of forms found in nature and a desire to understand the forces that shape this diversity within individuals, within species, and between species.  Molecular systematics, population genetics, and classical taxonomy have been essential tools in my exploration of natural history and while I have a particular affinity for fungi (particularly symbionts of plants), I am generally interested in how various biotic and abiotic factors influence the evolutionary trajectory of living organisms.  Fundamental to this pursuit is a robust understanding of the evolutionary history (phylogeny) of the organisms under investigation and a working knowledge of their ecological and morphological diversity.

The extent that our understanding of the tree of life has improved is directly related to the rate at which data is collected and novel methods to analyze these data are proposed and validated.  These advancements in biological research mean that we can now leverage these tools to address a broad swath of interesting, fundamental, and previously intractable biological questions.  I am fortunate to be working in a lab full of bright minds where I can focus my attention on developing the skills to harness these tools to apply to a range of empirical and theoretical problems.  My current work in the Brown lab includes (1) utilizing existing and novel methods in statistical phylogenetics and phylogenomics to more accurately infer the source of HIV-1 transmission clusters and (2) exploring approaches to reduce systematic error in phylogenetic inferences drawn from phylogenomic data.  I also collaborate with several excellent plant and fungal taxonomists, molecular biologists, and plant pathologists to address fundamental and practical questions in mycology.

I completed my bachelor of science at The Evergreen State College where I explored my interests in fungal and plant taxonomy and natural history.  Prior to, during, and since that time I have lived and traveled many places around the globe, including Asia, Africa, Europe, and all over North America (from Alaska to Panama).  In the off chance that you might be interested...when I am not working, I enjoy live music, great food, reading, meeting new people and learning new things (rarely can you have one without the other), swimming in cold, fresh water, canoeing, fishing, botanizing (that is not work), backpacking, and gardening.  I am also a big fan of jokes (good and bad).  They are a great way to deal with the pervasiveness of seriousness in the world. 

“The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it.” -Bill Nye

Artwork by friend and collaborator, Josh Simpson.