The genomes of animals have been shaped by their population history. Axel’s research gathers data from genomes in order to uncover this evolutionary process. This includes studying how, when and why populations diverge, admix, change size, and become extinct. In addition to these evolutionary questions, Axel is also interested in new technologies and methodologies for DNA sequencing and its analysis. In particular, he is interested in how genetic data can be retrieved from ancient biological materials and used to shed light on ancient populations and processes, which can remain hidden from view when only modern populations are investigated.
Axel started his Bachelor degree in Zoology in 2004 at Bangor University in North Wales. For his Bachelor thesis project, he investigated venom evolution in saw-scaled vipers, which led to his first scientific publication in 2009. He then continued at Bangor to study an MSc in Ecology, and subsequently a NERC funded PhD investigating African viper phylogeography and phylogeny, under the supervision of Dr. Wolfgang Wuster. Following his PhD, Axel joined Prof. Michi Hofreiter’s group as a postdoc on his ERC grant investigating geneflow in Pleistocene mammals in 2013. Here, Axel gathered new skills and knowledge in the fields of ancient DNA and population genomics, and developed his interest in the developing field of palaeogenomics. In 2019, Axel accepted a Lecturer position in Molecular Biosciences at Nottingham Trent University, where he will establish the Pleistocene Genomics Lab.