Dr. Alana Alexander

Dr. Alana Alexander
Dr. Alana Alexander

Alana came into the Gemmell Lab as a bioinformatics postdoc, followed by a two-year Rutherford Postdoctoral Fellowship. She’s currently a Rutherford Discovery Fellow affiliated with the Gemmell Lab, but also supervising her own staff and students.

Alana’s research utilises the ‘time-traveling’ ability of population genomics and phylogenomics by combining genomics, advanced computational tools, and behavioural, ecological, and biogeographic data to make inferences about the processes that have impacted populations in the past, and how ongoing threats will impact species into the future.

These inferences range from global spatial and deep temporal scales (e.g. the worldwide impact of climate fluctuations on global sperm whale populations over the last 125,000 years), to regional spatial scales across time scales relevant to local adaptation (e.g. the evolution of MHC immune genes in Hector’s and Māui dolphin populations), to finer spatial and temporal scales (e.g. the movement of a chickadee hybrid zone in Missouri by just a few kilometres over three decades).

Overall, Alana considers herself a molecular ecologist/evolutionary biologist who uses bioinformatic methods to focus on the interplay between pattern and process in genomic data. As a Māori scientist (Ngāpuhi, Te Hikutu) she also maintains a strong interest in ensuring that her research can be used to support kaitiakitanga, mātauranga, and rangatiratanga of resources within the rohe of iwi, hapū and papatipu rūnaka. Her current projects include her Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, the Genomics Aotearoa funded Ruatau: Connecting Māori genomic scientists and communities, and the Coastal People Southern Skies CoRE funded Parāoa of the South Pacific.

Contact Details

Telephone: +64 (03) 479 7146
Fax: +64 (03) 479 7254

Email: alana.alexander@otago.ac.nz