Sex, Death and the Apocalypse

Experimental Evolution at Edinburgh: The Collins lab is part of a group of experimentalists who use microbial evolution to understand apoptosis, sex, cooperation, virulence, and the responses of microbes to climate change. We're not nearly as morbid as we sound. 

The other PI's involved in this fun are Nick Colegrave and Sam Brown.

Meet The Team!


Sinead Collins (PI)

Sinead Collins

I'm interested in how large populations of small organisms adapt to complex environmental changes. Since that's a bit too vague, I focus on how marine phytoplankton adapt to ocean acidification. I use experimental evolution in the lab to figure out the basic theory involved, and then head off to collaborate with oceanographers to apply it to marine systems.

I also just like microbes, especially the green ones. They're the invisible drivers of ecosystems, they do stuff that can only be described as "very cool", and they're insanely beautiful. How could I resist?

Heidi Kuehne (Research Assistant)

Heidi Kuehne

I am broadly interested in the evolution of natural microbial populations and specifically interested in the interplay of migration, mating system, and selection as forces that shape microbial population structure. My background is rooted in population genetics and experimental evolution. My PhD work (University of Pennsylvania) uncovered the sympatric population genetic structures of the closely-related yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S. paradoxus sampled in oak woodlands in North America and Eurasia. 


Sarah Heath (PhD student)

Can environment affect host-virus interactions in marine algae?


Rasmus Lindberg (PhD student)

What traits will selection favour when food is abundant?


Georgina Brennan (PhD candidate)

Georgina BrennanPhD Student

I am interested in how climate change will affect adaptation in natural populations.  I am particularly interested in phytoplankton communities which are key drivers of global change responsible for half the photosynthetic carbon uptake on the planet and play a key role in determining atmospheric levels of CO2.   


Diane Lawrence (Post Doc)

Diane Lawrence

In my research I am using six lineages of the marine algae Osterococcus tauri to investigate the effect evolving with a competitor has on adaptation to high CO2.


Lab Escapees (Alumni)

Eventually, everyone who is not Sinead leaves the lab and go make their own small but mighty empires. 

Ilkka Kronholm 

Elisa Schaum

Matias Scheinin