Professor Nina Wedell 

Administering Organisation: The University of Melbourne (Currently at University of Exeter, UK)
Discipline area: Biological Sciences and Biotechnology

Fellowship project summary: 

FL190100134: This project aims to develop new approaches to mitigate resistance evolution by applying sexual selection theory to predict evolution of insecticide resistance in flies. A key assumption of current agriculture management strategies is that resistance carries fecundity or survival costs, but this is rarely demonstrated, especially in nature. Not all resistance mutations are novel; many represent pre-existing variants maintained by balancing selection i.e. opposing effects in males and females, or by environmental fluctuations. This research will provide new insight into how resistance evolves and is maintained in natural populations and may result in potential reduction in pesticide use with associated economic and biodiversity benefits.

Australian Research Council funding: $3,010,635

About Professor Wedell

Nina Wedell is a Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. She will join The University of Melbourne to take up this ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship.

Professor Wedell is an evolutionary biologist who has pioneered knowledge of the role of sexual conflict and selfish genes in the evolutionary process. Her research applies ground-breaking interdisciplinary research spanning the behavioural, evolutionary, and molecular sciences using a variety of techniques in a variety of insects including butterflies, moths and flies.

For her research achievements, she is the current President-Elect of the European Society of Evolutionary Biology, named in 2015, and was elected President of the International Society of Behavioural Ecology in 2012. She also received the Royal Society Wolfson Award for outstanding contribution to research in 2011.

Find out more about Professor Wedell’s research by visiting her profile page on the University of Exeter website. For further information about this funding scheme, please visit the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme page on the ARC website.

Image credit: University of Exeter, UK.