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Damian Hernandez(he/him)


Damian (he/him/his) is a postdoc in Dr. John Stinchcombe’s (University of Toronto) and Dr. Vasilis Kokkoris’ labs as part of his fellowship from the US National Science Foundation. Damian is an “accidental ecologist” having gotten his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in molecular biology and stumbled into an ecology lab as part of his PhD. In his PhD, he studied how species integrate cues about environmental stress to impact the interactions that structure communities and the molecular pathways that determine when a partner is or is not a friend (i.e., context-dependency). During his postdoc, Damian is delving more into the molecular biology of context-dependency of species interactions using arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis as a model by looking at how gene expression networks are restructured when AM symbiosis happens under stress. Big picture, Damian’s research is building conceptual frameworks for understanding how we can leverage large molecular datasets like gene co-expression networks to discover new ecological insights into how regulatory mechanisms at a molecular level cascade upward to shape individual interactions and community structure.

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