The Evolutionary Medicine Unit (EMU) uses an integrated and collaborative approach to tackle fundamental questions in molecular and cellular evolution, and applies these advances to our understanding of human disease. Evolutionary biology is experiencing a period of rapid growth with major conceptual and experimental advances being made (see “Do we need an extended evolutionary synthesis” by M Pigliucci, 2007). In addition, the value of using evolutionary principles to investigate disease is becoming apparent (see “The great opportunity: Evolutionary applications to medicine and public health” by RM Nesse and SC Stearns, 2007).
Our work crosses the artificial boundaries of traditional disciplines. We use whatever approaches are appropriate, and have been known to develop new ones! Active collaborations with scientists in diverse fields and at other universities make this a highly dynamic, stimulating research group. Researchers with backgrounds in molecular and cell biology, ecology, evolution, biochemistry, bioinformatics, computational biology and medicine may find a home here. EMU occupies a newly renovated laboratory with access to all the basic equipment required for molecular biology research and is affiliated to the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
EMU was initiated and developed in 2010. Some of the major contributions (see Research and Publications) brought to the unit and developed by EMU researchers and collaborators are: