New Faculty: Ben Sandkam

Ben Sandkam

Assistant Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior

Academic focus:
Evolutionary genomics, sexual selection, reproductive behavior

Current research project: 
I study the genetic causes and consequences of reproductive behavior in fish. My favorite current project focuses on a fish that has five very different male reproductive morphs that differ by size, color, and behavior. Recently we found these morphs are inherited through five different Y chromosomes in this one species. My lab and I are now working to understand how these five Y chromosomes have evolved and how they control gene expression across the rest of the genome, which is shared across all males and females.

Previous positions:

  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, 2019-2021
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Biology, University of Maryland, 2016-2019
  • Visiting Scientist, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2019

Academic background:

  • Ph.D., Biological sciences, Simon Fraser University, 2015
  • B.Sc., Integrative biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009 

Last book read:
"Humankind: A Hopeful History” by Rutger Bregman

In your own time/when not working:
I like to chase fish--fly fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, keeping aquariums, etc. When not chasing fish I’m usually playing with new technology gadgets or spending time with my family. 

Courses you’re most looking forward to teaching:
Sensory ecology

What most excites you about Cornell:
The highly engaged, cross-disciplinary and collaborative atmosphere of such an outstanding group of researchers.  

Twitter handle/blog url:

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