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I study evolution and ecology, often from a genetic or genomic perspective. Most of my work is mathematical, statistical, or computational, and much of it deals with the interplay between organismal traits and their genetic bases in adaptive evolution. For example, colleagues and I devised statistical analyses indicating that regulatory regions of many genes underlying neural development and function have evolved adaptively in the human lineage (Haygood et al., 2007, Nat. Genet. 39:1140-1144). We also performed a meta-analysis showing that this finding coheres with other surveys of non-protein-coding regions of the human genome but contrasts with surveys of protein-coding regions (Haygood et al., 2010, PNAS 107:7853-7857), affirming a long-standing conjecture that human cognition has evolved primarily through changes in gene regulation.
I'm also a software developer, focusing on the web and mobile devices. For example, I founded CardVine (http://cardvine.com/), which replaces business cards with virtual cards on computers and smartphones.
My last academic affiliation was with Duke University, where I was a postdoctoral fellow in biology. In 2009, I left academia, having concluded I could pursue my interests more happily and productively as an independent scientist and entrepreneur.
Contact Ralph at firstname.lastname@example.org