My name is Nicholas (Nick) Crawford. I am a PhD student at Boston University working with Dr. Christopher Schneider. I’m also part of a larger collaboration with the Hoekstra and Losos labs at Harvard University.
My PhD dissertation work involves the genetics of speciation and adaptation in Anolis lizards. Anoles represent one of the largest adaptive radiations of any vertebrate taxa.  In the Caribbean alone there are at least 150 different species.  Anoles are unusual in that they have a specialized gular fold, called a dewlap, that they use to signal to conspecifics.  These dewlaps come in a multitude of colors: red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, blue — you name it some species probably has it!  Many of these colors, yellow and orange in particular, appear to have evolved independently in multiple lineages.  Thus, anoles are an ideal model to study convergent evolution of pigmentation.
As such, I’m am using the anole genome, from A. carolinensis, in combination with next generation sequencing and other methods, to identify pigmentation genes that are differentially expressed in differently colored anole skin.
Although you might say that anoles ‘rule my world’ at the moment, this was not always the case.  Previously, I have worked at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) in Aiken South Carolina. There I was technician in Dr. Travis Glenn’s molecular ecology laboratory. Working for Dr. Glenn, my primary duty was to assist with the development and screening of microsatellite loci.  Prior to my time at SREL, I completed a masters at San Diego State University with Dr. Tod Reeder.  My MS thesis project investigated population structure and genetic variation within a genus of asexual whiptail lizards (=Aspidoscelis velox).


My name is Nick Crawford, and I am a computational genomics postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. I’m broadly interested in applying genomics to investigate fundamental questions in evolutionary biology. My research focuses primarily on the genomic architecture of local adaptation. I’m currently working on human populations in Africa. Previously I’ve worked on a diversity of genera including Anolis lizards and Heliconius butterflies.

I’ve also contributed to a number of studies using phylogenomic approaches to investigate core questions vertebrate systematics. I helped develop a new type of phylogenomic marker that uses target enrichment to capture ultra conserved regions (UCEs) and their variable flanking sequence. My collaborators and I have used these markers to investigate questions in mammalian, reptilian, and avian evolution.

General Information:

  • I live in Boston, MA
  • Email: NGCrawford[at]gmail.com
  • My Resume is available here.