Personal photo - Benjamin Hopkins

Ben Hopkins

Doctoral Student at the

Rex Richards Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QU

Contact: benjamin.hopkins@linacre.ox.ac.uk

Background

I am a first year DPhil student on the Doctoral Training Programme in Interdisciplinary Bioscience funded by a generous EP Abraham Cephalosporin-Oxford Graduate Scholarship with additional support from the BBSRC. As an undergraduate, I studied biolgical sciences at Merton College, Oxford, specialising in evolutionary biology, animal behaviour, and behavioural ecology, and graduating with a first class. My interests within the biological sciences are broad but generally centre around 'ultimate questions'. That is to say, questioning why a phenotype has evolved and why it is as it is. Currently, specific interests include the mechanisms by which fitness is maximised during sex as viewed through the framework of social evolutionary theory. This includes plasticity in ejaculate composition, the costs of courtship, and the broad classification and identification of episodes of cooperation and conflict during these processes. I also maintain an interest in animal signalling with a particular emphasis on the informational content of signals.

Education

2014-2018: DPhil Interdisciplinary Bioscience, Linacre College, University of Oxford

2011-2014: BA (Hons) Biological Sciences, Merton College, University of Oxford (First Class)

Research

2013: Merton College Summer Research Grant, Univeristy of Oxford:
Awarded a competitive research grant from Merton College of £355 plus accommodation to undertake a 6‐week independent research project under the supervision of Professor Tim Guilford on the role of courtship display in lifetime monogamous birds. Incorporated a short period of fieldwork on Skomer Island. Produced a 12,000‐word discussion of these ideas.
2013: David Kirby Memorial Award Research Grant, University of Oxford:
Awarded a competitive £500 research grant to study how accessory gland secondary cells mediate sexual conflict and sperm competition in Drosophila melanogaster under the supervision of Dr Stuart Wigby. Utilised a variety of techniques such as dissection of accessory glands and cell staining, fly-husbandry, wide‐scale competition assays, and statistical analyses (using JMP and R). Acquired experience with GM organisms and temperature-­sensitive transcriptional repressor constructs. Attended journal clubs and meetings with collaborators in other departments. Produced 7,000‐word dissertation on findings.
2010-2012: Research Placements,Cardiff University:
Worked on the role of cAMP in promoting the aggregation response of Dictyostelium discoideum under Dr Regina Teo. Two placements with Dr Karen Reed investigating expression of a group of imprinted genes in mouse intestinal tumourigenesis using RNA extraction and qRT‐PCR.
2010: Nuffield Bursary Funded Research Student,Cardiff University:
Competitively secured £400 funding for a 5-­week project in Professor Alan Clarke’s lab examining the role of Hunk protein kinase in the regulation of intestinal epithelial cell migration in mice. Use of immunohistochemistry, microscopy, dissection, histological analysis, and data analysis. Generated a written report on findings.

Awards

Links

Overview of research on monogamous bird courtship display
The Wigby Lab
Personal EGI page
LinkedIn profile