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Darwin, Evolution, and Sexual Dimorphism

  • Wurstküche 625 Lincoln Boulevard Venice, CA 90291 United States (map)

Dr. Nicole Wheatley


Popular views about the differences between the sexes shift through history. In the late 1800s, Charles Darwin dedicated many chapters in The Descent of Man to detailing the nature of these differences. Darwin is famous for his theory of natural selection, a theory which can explain how a population of birds might gradually change beak shape to adjust to a changing environment. However, it alarmed Darwin that natural selection could not explain how a species maintains consistent differences between male and female members. Why are males and females different? Why are there males and females at all? Come join me to learn about Darwin’s oft-forgotten theory of Sexual Selection!

Speaker Bio

Dr. Nicole Wheatley is currently a postdoctoral researcher in David Eisenberg’s lab at UCLA, studying protein aggregation in the tumor suppressor protein, p53. Nicole graduated summa cum laude from UC Irvine with a B.S. in Microbiology and Immunology in 2009. As an undergraduate, she volunteered in an X-ray protein crystallography laboratory headed by Dr. Celia Goulding, where she learned about protein purification, protein folding and X-ray diffraction of protein crystals. Continuing her interest in protein science, Nicole went to graduate school at UCLA, where in 2015 she earned her Ph.D. from the Molecular Biology Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Todd Yeates. In her free time, Nicole reads books written by and written about Charles Darwin. A list of her published work can be found on her Google Scholar profile.