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Rajendhran Rajakumar
Harvard Medical School

Rajendhran (Rajee) Rajakumar received his BSc in cell & molecular biology at Concordia University. During this time, he volunteered in the lab of Ehab Abouheif at McGill University where he fell in love with the elegance of ant societies, and decided to stay and pursue a PhD. As an NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Martin J. Cohn (University of Florida), he utilized cartilaginous fish to investigate the evolutionary and developmental origins of vertebrate traits. Currently, as a CIHR (Canadian Institute of Health Research) Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Norbert Perrimon (Harvard Medical School), he utilizes Drosophila genetics to address elusive mechanistic questions that he has generated with non-model organisms. Primarily, he uses ants as a model to understand how ecology can act on developmental processes, generating morphological variation and subsequent evolution. Beyond this, by examining an array of invertebrate and vertebrate systems and using a combination of approaches integrating fieldwork and phylogenetics with developmental genetic, epigenetic and integrative physiology, he has attempted to tackle questions as diverse as: why recurrent phenotypes appear in nature, how epigenetic mechanisms generate quantitative trait variation, and how do organs intercommunicate to maintain homeostasis.