Dr Vicki Thomson

Dr Vicki Thomson
 Position ARC Postdoctoral Researcher
 Org Unit Genetics & Evolution
 Email vicki.thomson@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 3946
 Location Floor/Room 2 12 ,  Darling Building ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Discover magazine's Top 100 stories of 2016: our Rattus detentus paper

    Rattus detentus

     

    Tiger snake project

     

    Fresh Science coverage of my recent Rattus exulans paper

     


    Vicki's gravatar

    Vicki's personal website: vicki-thomson.com

    Vicki's Tiger snake website: tigersnakes.wordpress.com

    Vicki's Twitter handle: @Vicki_Thomson

    Vicki's google scholar page 

    Vicki's Linkedin profile

     

    Honours/PhD projects on offer in 2017 with me:

    Investigation of Tiger Snakes on islands:

    Our Tiger Snake linkage project will examin the dramatic variation amongst Tiger Snake populations in anatomy, ecology, and life history traits, and the relationship of these factors to venom toxin evolution and venom production. Honours and PhD projects can be developed within the scope of this project, i.e. looking at the anatomy, ecology, fitness measures, venom composition etc. 

    Academic positions:

    2018-           ARC DECRA Fellow

                         School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia.

                         DE180100624 - The role of epigenetic modifications in tiger snake adaptation.

    2016-2017    ARC Postdoctoral Research Associate

                         School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia.

                         DP140103650 - Tracking the development of agricultural lifestyles in island Southeast Asia through modern and prehistoric rodent communities.

    2013- 2016   ARC Postdoctoral Research Associate

                         Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia.

                         DP13010455 - Reconstructing the impact of climate change on Australian native species.

    2012-2103    Research Assistant

                         Dr. Scott Keogh, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.

                         Reptile phylogenomics

    2012             Research Assistant

                         Dr. Chris Burridge, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania.

                         Wedge-tailed Eagle phylogeography project – optimization of microsatellite amplification for low template DNA samples.

    2012             Research Assistant

                         Dr. Steve Donnellan, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, South Australia.

                         Rattus rattus species complex – phylogenomics to refine species boundaries.

    2012             Research Assistant

                         Dr. Fred Gurgel, State Herbarium, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, South Australia.

                         Phycology project – optimization of PCR conditions for inhibited and contaminated algae and sponge samples.

     

    Dr. Thomson was awarded her PhD in 2013 on ‘Using ancient DNA as an essential tool to explore past Australian biodiversity’ utilizing modern and ancient DNA (at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide) to answer phylogenetic, phylogeographic, population and conservation genetic questions.  She has investigated issues in archaeology and ancient human migration using commensal chicken phylogeography (Thomson, Lebrasseur, Austin, et al. 2014 PNAS), phylogeography of commensal rodents (Thomson, Aplin, Cooper et al. 2014 PLoS One), conservation of a declining rodent species (Thomson, Ford, Rowe et al. in prep.), evolutionary history of Emu species, population genetics of a declining bat species (Thomson, Armstrong, Medlin, & Cooper in prep.), and phylogenetics of rare rodents (Thomson, Wiewel, Chinen et al. 2017).  This research has allowed her to conduct fieldwork in outback Australia, learn morphological identification and morphometric skills, gain ancient DNA laboratory skills, develop relationships with collaborators, museum staff, and other researchers internationally, and learn many cutting-edge analysis methods. Dr. Thomson has also recently developed skills in the extraction of high molecular weight genomic DNA for RAD sequencing and exome capture, and in R and bash scripting.

     

  • Qualifications

    2008-2012    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia.  Supervised by Professor Alan Cooper, Professor Steve Donnellan, and Dr. Ken Aplin.

    2006-2007    BSc (Honours) Degree, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.  Supervised by Associate Professor Anne Goldizen and Dr. Jennifer Seddon.

    2002-2005      Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences; Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Archaeology, School of Social Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. (GPA: 6.28).

    1992-1996    Gisborne Girls High School, Gisborne, New Zealand.

     

  • Awards & Achievements

    Public Outreach

    2017             Presented research talk to high school students at Shiv Nadar School in New Delhi, India (10 August 2017).

    2016             'History Hunters' presentation to students from Elizabeth North Primary School about classification and its application to conservation (25 May 2016).

    2015             Adelaide Channel 7 news interview on Kangaroo Island emus (aired on 10th October 2015).

    2015             'History Hunters' presentation to Year 7 students from John Hartley School about classification and its application to conservation (28 May 2015) - promotional video

    2015             Off The Fence Productions interview on mice plagues (recorded on 13 March 2015, to be advised when broadcast)

    2015             Presentation to Birds SA (27 February 2015): 'The birds of Australasia'

    2014             E-science magazine article (University of Adelaide e-newsletter, Issue 10: 28 July 2014): Ancient chickens key to reconstructing early Polynesian migrations.

    2014             Presentation to Royal Society of South Australia (12 June 2014): Using ancient DNA to study the origins and dispersal of ancestral Polynesian chickens across the Pacific.

    2014             Interview on Radio Adelaide (23 March 2014): Using ancient DNA to study the origins and dispersal of ancestral Polynesian chickens across the Pacific.

    2014             Interview on Radio New Zealand (18 March 2014): Using ancient DNA to study the origins and dispersal of ancestral Polynesian chickens across the Pacific.

    2014             The Conversation article (online newsletter, 18 March 2014): Chickens tell tale of human migration across Pacific.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2010             The Genographic Project: Tracing Your Family Roots with the University of Adelaide.


    Committee positions

    2017                President of the EI EMCR Association.

    2016                Vice-President of the School of Biological Sciences Post-Doc Association.

    2014-6             Treasurer of the School of Biological Sciences Post-Doc Association.

    2014-6             Social Media officer of the Biological Society of South Australia.

    2014-6             Founding member of the 'Stat Solution' network.


    Workshops organised

    2017             ddRAD workshop at Indian Institute for Science, Bangalore, India.

    2015             Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) workshop, Adelaide, Australia. Featuring Xander Xue from Mike Hickerson's lab at City College of New York.

    2015             SNPseq workshop, Adelaide, Australia.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Grants awarded

    2017             ARC DECRA Fellowship 'The role of epigenetic modifications in tiger snake adaptation' (AU$365,058)

    2016             Australian Academy of Science's Australia-India Strategic Research Fund Fellowship (AU$15,300)

    2016             ARC Linkage grant 'Testing evolutionary processes driving venom diversity in tiger snakes' (AU$164,427)

    2015             The University of Adelaide's Environment Institute small grant award (AU$10,670)

    2014             Asia Pacific Science Foundation Grant (AU$43,672 over 3 years)

    2014             Environment Institute Travel Grant (AU$2,500)

    2013             Sir Mark Mitchell Research Foundation Grant (AU$6,200)

    2009             Field Naturalists Society of South Australia – Lirabenda Endowment Fund Research Grant (AU$4,000)

    2009             Nature Conservation Society of South Australia - NCSSA Conservation Biology Grant (AU$400)

    2008-2009    Environmental Futures Network – Early Career Researcher Program Grant (AU$2,320) 

    2008-2011    Australian Postgraduate Award (AU$20,453 per annum/three years six months)


    Lecturing and Supervising

    2017             Supervisor of honours student (Monique Aherns).

    2017             Guest lecturer for ENV BIOL 3530: Research Methods in Evolutionary Biology III, University of Adelaide, Australia - Phylogenetics on the command line.

    2017             Exam invigilator for ENV BIOL 3530: Research Methods in Evolutionary Biology III, University of Adelaide, Australia.

    2016             Guest lecturer for ENV BIOL 3550: Evolution of the Australian Biota III, University of Adelaide, Australia - Phylogenetics on the command line.

    2016             Tutor for ENV BIOL 3550: Evolution of the Australian Biota III, University of Adelaide, Australia - Using Geneious.

    2016             Supervisor of Research Project for ENV BIOL 3550: Evolution of the Australian Biota III, University of Adelaide, Australia - Examining growth genes in tiger snakes.

    2015             Guest lecturer in Epigenetics for ENV BIOL 3123: Issues in Evolutionary Biology, University of Adelaide, Australia - Epigenetics (and its implications in phenotypic plasticity).

    2014             Supervisor of Research Project in Epigenetics for ENV BIOL 3123: Issues in Evolutionary Biology, University of Adelaide, Australia - Using BayeSSC and ABC to reconstruct human demography.


    Conference presentations

    2017             Australasian Evolution Society conference, Hobart, Tasmania.

    2017             Invited speaker for Environmental Epigenetics Symposium for ComBio2017

    2015             SNPseq workshop, Adelaide, Australia - Developing GBS for a range of Australian terrestrial vertebrates: the problems and pitfalls

    2015             Poster presentation at Genetic Society of AustralAsia (GSA) conference in Adelaide, Australia - Using genetics to understand the impacts of climate change on Australian endemics

    2014             International Council on Archaeozoology (ICAZ) conference in San Rafael, Argentina - Using ancient DNA to study the origins and dispersal of ancestral Polynesian chickens across the Pacific.

    2014             Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association (IPPA) conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia - (Why) Did the chicken cross the Pacific?

    2013             CAVEPS, Adelaide, Australia - Birds of a feather: island dwarfs flock together with mainland Emus.

    2012             Australian Mammal Society, Port Augusta, Australia - A ghost of a chance? Evolutionary history of the Ghost Bat (Macroderma gigas) and its chances of surviving future climate change.

    2010             Australian Mammal Society, Sydney, Australia - Climate change may invigorate endangered Hastings River Mouse (Pseudomys oralis): Ancient DNA informs conservation decisions.


    Field Experience

    2017             Fieldwork to collect tiger snakes - Reevesby Island, Roxby Island, Williams Island, Franklin Islands, Eyre Peninsula.

    2017             Fieldwork to collect greater stick nest rat - Reevesby Island and Franklin Islands.

    2009             Palaeontological surveying and excavations of Ghost Bat cave deposits, Flinders Ranges, South Australia.

    2009             Palaeontological surveying and excavations of Ghost Bat cave deposits, Northern Agricultural Regions, Western Australia.

    2006             Biological surveying of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Lake Cootharabra, Queensland.

    Reviewer for

    Animal Genetics

    Australian Journal of Botany

    BMC Genetics

    Diversity and Distributions

    Genes and Genetics

    Mammalian Biology

    Philippine Agricultural Scientist

    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

    (for more details see: https://publons.com/author/1227773/vicki-a-thomson#stats)

  • Publications

    2017 Bover P, Mitchell KJ, Llamas B, Thomson VA, Pons J, Cooper A. Molecular resolution to a morphological controversy: the case of North American fossil muskoxen Bootherium and Symbos. American Naturalist (to be submitted).

     

    2017 Lopez CMR, Konate M, Sanders KL, Thomson VA. Epigenetic divergence contributes to tiger snake adaptation to island environments. Molecular Ecology (to be submitted).  

     

    2017 Herrera MJB, Thomson VA, Wadley JJ, Macqueen P, Piper PJ, Sulundari S, Dharmayanti AB, Kraitsek S, Eusebio MS, Rubio RO, Cooper A, Gongora J, Austin JJ. Philippine origin and dispersal of Polynesian chickens indicated by mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Biology and Evolution (to be submitted).  

     

    2017 Thomson VA, Armstrong KN, Medlin G, Cooper A. A ghost of a chance? Evolutionary history of the Australian Ghost Bat (Macroderma gigas) and its chances of surviving future climate change. BMC Evolutionary Biology (to be submitted).

     

    2017 Allen L, Sanders KL, Thomson VA. Molecular evidence for first records of facultative parthenogenesis in elapid snakes. Royal Society of Open Science (in review).  

     

    2017 White LC, Moseby KE, Thomson VA, Donnellan S, Austin JJ. Long-term genetic consequences of mammal reintroductions into an Australian conservation reserve. Biological Conservation (in review).  

     

    2017 Thomson VA, Mitchell KJ, Eberhard R, Dortch J, Austin JJ, Cooper A. Island dwarfism in extinct emu populations was linked to island size. Biology Letters (in review).  

     

    2017 Bover P, Mitchell MJ, Llamas B, Thomson VA, Pons J, Alcover JA, Cooper A. First ancient DNA from an endemic insular Mediterranean micromammal: the extinct dormouse Hypnomys morpheus. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (in review).

     

    2017 Bover P, Mitchell MJ, Llamas B, Rofes J, Thomson VA, Cuenca-Bescos G, Alcover JA, Cooper A, Pons J. Molecular phylogenetics supports the origin of an endemic Balearic shrew lineage (Nesiotites) coincidence with the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (in review).

     

    2017 Thomson VA, Wiewel A, Chinen A, Maryanto I, Sinaga MH, How R, Aplin K, Suzuki H. A perspective for resolving the systematics of Rattus, the vertebrates with the most influence on human welfare. Zootaxa (Accepted 30 May 2017).

     

    2017 Sasamori S, Wiewel A, Thomson VA, Kobayashi M, Nakata K, Suzuki H. A potential causative mutation of the agouti signaling protein gene (Asip) for melanism in the Rattus rattus species complex from the Okinawa Island, Japan. Zoological Science 34: 513-522 doi:10.2108/zs170027.

     

    2017 Lopez CMR, Konate M, Thomson VA. MSAP in Tiger Snakes: Island Populations Are Epigenetically More Divergent. bioRxiv https://doi.org/10.1101.118836.

     

    2017 Herrera MJB, Thomson VA, Piper PJ, Wadley JJ, Cooper A, Austin JJ. East African origins for Malagasy chickens as indicated by mitochondrial DNA. Royal Society of Open Science doi:10.1098/rsos.160787.

     

    2017 Coghlan BA, Seddon JM, Best EC, Thomson VA, Goldizen AW. Evidence of male-biased dispersal in eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus). Australian Journal of Zoology 64(5): 360-369 doi:10.1071/ZO16047.

     

    2016 Wadley JJ, Fordham D, Thomson VA, Ritchie E, Austin JJ. Phylogeography of the antilopine wallaroo (Macropus antilopinus) across tropical northern Australia. Ecology and Evolution http://hdl.handle.net/2440/102210.

     

    2016 Timm RM, Weijola VS-A, Aplin KA, Donnellan SC, Flannery TF, Thomson VA, Pine RH. A new species of Rattus (Rodentia: Muridae) from Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Mammalogy http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyw034.

     

    2015 Coghlan BA, Goldizen AW, Thomson VA, Seddon JM. Phylogeography of eastern grey kangaroos, Macropus giganteus, suggests a mesic refugium in eastern Australia. PLoS One 10(5): e0128160; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128160.

     

    2014 Llamas B, Brotherton P, Mitchell KJ, Templeton JE, Thomson VA, Metcalf JL, Armstrong KN, Kasper M, Richards SM, Camens AB, Lee MS, Cooper A. Late Pleistocene Australian marsupial DNA clarifies the affinities of extinct megafaunal kangaroos and wallabies. Molecular Biology and Evolution 32(3):574-84; doi:10.1093/molbev/msu338.

     

    2014 Thomson VA, Lebrasseur O, Austin JJ, Hunt TL, Burney DA, Denham T, Rawlence NJ, Wood JR, Gongora J, Girdland Flink L, Linderholm A, Dobney K, Larson G, Cooper A. Reply to Beavan, Bryant, and Storey and Matisoo-Smith: Ancestral Polynesian 'D' haplotypes reflect authentic Pacific chicken lineages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111(35):E3585-E3586; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1411566111.

     

    2014 Thomson VA, Lebrasseur O, Austin JJ, Hunt TL, Burney DA, Denham T, Rawlence NJ, Wood JR, Gongora J, Girdland Flink L, Linderholm A, Dobney K, Larson G, Cooper A. Using ancient DNA to study the origins and dispersal of ancestral Polynesian chickens across the Pacific. PNAS 111(13):4826-31; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1320412111.

     

    2014 Thomson VA, Aplin KP, Cooper A, Hisheh S, Suzuki H, Maryanto I, Yap G, Donnellan SC. Molecular genetic evidence for the place of origin of the Pacific Rat, Rattus exulans. PLoS One 9(3):e91356; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091356.

     

    2014 Sheng G-L, Soubrier J, Liu J-Y, Werdelin L, Llamas B, Thomson VA, Tuke J, Wu L-J, Hou X-D, Chen Q-J, Lai X-L, Cooper A. Pleistocene Chinese cave hyenas and the recent Eurasian history of the spotted hyena, Crocuta crocuta. Molecular Ecology 23:522-533; doi: 10.1111/mec.12576.

     

    2009 Carter AJ, Macdonald SL, Thomson VA, Goldizen AW. Structured association patterns and their energetic benefits in female eastern grey kangaroos, Macropus giganteus. Animal Behaviour 77(4):839-846; doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.12.007.

     

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Entry last updated: Sunday, 21 Jan 2018

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