Megan Phifer-Rixey is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Drexel University. She is an evolutionary biologist, and her research is motivated by the challenge of making connections between genotype, phenotype, and fitness, especially for complex traits and in the context of changing environments. The Phifer-Rixey lab uses many different approaches—combining genomics and population genetics with fieldwork and organismal functional studies. The lab also investigates fundamental questions in evolutionary genetics relating to adaptation, speciation, and demography, primarily focusing on wild house mice. House mice are one of the mostly widely used genetic model systems and they have recently spread around the world in association with humans. This combination makes them a great system for studying evolutionary genetics and the genetics of adaptation to new environments. The lab also collaborates on projects relating to marine genetics and biology education.
Megan earned her B.S. in Biology from Duke University and her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. As a Ph.D. student, Megan was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation. Afterwards, she joined the University of Arizona as a postdoctoral researcher and then continued her postdoctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley with Dr. Michael Nachman. In 2016, she joined the Biology Department at Monmouth University as an Assistant Professor. In 2021, she was awarded an NSF CAREER grant to study the genetics of urbanization in house mice. She joined the Department of Biology at Drexel University in 2023 where she will continue her work in evolutionary genetics with an emphasis on the impacts of urbanization.