The Flatt Laboratory

Our Research

We study the genetic and physiological mechanisms underlying the evolution of life history traits, with a particular emphasis on aging.

How do life history traits evolve, within and among species, to generate phenotypic variation? What are the mechanisms underlying life history plasticity and trade-offs?

Our focus is on understanding how hormonal signaling pathways (e.g., insulin, juvenile hormone, ecdysone) affect the phenotypic expression and evolution of aging and trade-offs between reproduction and lifespan, immunity, and somatic maintenance.

To address these problems we combine the tools of evolutionary genetics, quantitative genetics, experimental evolution and artificial selection, molecular genetics, physiology and genomics in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) and closely related species.

“…integrating an understanding of mechanisms into life history theory will be one of the most exciting tasks facing evolutionary biologists in the 21st century.

Barnes & Partridge (2003), in Animal Behaviour

Flatt et al. (2008), Hormonal Regulation of the Humoral Innate Response in Drosophila melanogaster. J. Exp. Biol.

Flatt et al. (2005), Hormonal Pleiotropy and the Juvenile Hormone Regulation of Drosophila Development and Life History. BioEssays.
Flatt et al. (2008), Drosophila Germ-Line Modulation of Insulin Signaling and Lifespan. PNAS.
Flatt & Promislow (2007), Still Pondering an Age-Old Question, Science.

Evolution and Mechanisms of Aging and Life Histories