I am interested in how genomic research can benefit and be incorporated into the conservation of nature. I believe that we can leverage genomics and specifically portable DNA sequencing to revolutionise our understanding of planetary health, with important implications for biodiversity conservation, non-invasive biomonitoring, biosecurity, public health and, in general, for democratising science.
During my PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK, and the EMBL - European Bioinformatics Institute, I applied and developed methodology in the fields of statistical genomics, deep learning and single-cell genetics. I am now combining this expertise in genomics with my background in both applied and theoretical ecology to investigate how these approaches can be combined with established applications from population and evolutionary genomics to inform the fledgeling field of conservation genomics.
As a Research Fellow, I currently focus on two critically endangered avian species endemic to New Zealand, the takahē and the kākāpō. I further benchmark portable DNA sequencing and different environmental DNA approaches to obtain information about species presence, population structure and demography as well as fitness and disease susceptibility from environmental samples such as soil and water.
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Lara receives NZ$ 30k for more
portable sequencing research