I am a molecular biologist who has always been passionate about evolution as an approach to explaining biodiversity from molecules to entire ecosystems.
For my PhD, I am studying the phenomenon of pigment loss as a common adaptation in cave dwellers. A lot of research has been done on melanin, but I am particularly interested in ommochromes - generally less studied biological pigments first described in the eyes of Drosophila.
I would like to determine the precise molecular mechanisms that lead to albinism as a result of ommochrome deficiency.
In addition, I would like to determine if the loss of ommochromes, similar to the loss of melanin, may be an evolutionarily favored adaptation in cave dwellers because it can enable for a shift of resources (substrates and/or enzyme machinery) to biological processes that are more useful in the stressful and harsh cave email@example.com