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Research Fellows Directory

Andy Gardner

Dr Andy Gardner

Research Fellow


University of St Andrews

Research summary

I work on Darwinian adaptation. Natural selection explains the appearance of design in the living world, but at what level is this design expected to manifest – at the level of the gene, or the individual, or society – and what is its function? Social evolution provides a window on this problem, by pitting the interests of genes, individuals and societies against each other. By developing and testing social evolution theory, I discover whose interests really matter in shaping the course of adaptive evolution. I develop general theory, and also tailor this theory for application to particular species, in order to facilitate experimental testing in the field and in the laboratory. I work on a wide range of biological systems, from disease-causing viruses, bacteria and malaria parasites, to insects, fish and humans. As well as clarifying the origin and purpose of organism design, a problem that has interested thinkers for millennia, this work has implications for medicine: better understanding of parasite adaptations highlights novel targets for antibiotic treatment and informs the development of other medical interventions.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Mathematical theory of Darwinian adaptation: genes, individuals, societies

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2011 - Mar 2014

Value: £302,636.01

Competition and kin selection: the evolution of altruism and spite

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Jan 2007 - Sep 2011

Value: £348,878.34