My primary research interests lie in Evolutionary Developmental Biology where I have been focusing on the origin of vertebrate novelties such as the neural crest and neural placodes. I completed my MSc at the University of Cape Town where I investigated the origin of the neural crest gene regulatory network by understanding the conservation of enhancer regions between lampreys and chickens. My current work aims to develop our understanding of the evolution of the Cranial Sensory Ganglia (CSG), the origin of the majority of the vertebrate sensory nervous system. I will be using a variety of molecular techniques to understand how a basic toolkit of genes and regulatory elements led to the evolution of complex sensory systems in modern vertebrates. Using comparative genomic techniques we will investigate the origin of CSG development in the early chordate, Ciona intestinalis and compare the genetic architecture to that of the chicken.