Dr Philippa Griffin

Research Fellow
Bio21 Institute
Room 266
+613 8344 2348



I completed a PhD (2011) with Prof Ary Hoffmann and Dr Linda Thomson in the Genetics Department at the University of Melbourne, focusing on drought response and species structure within the polyploid Poa tussock grasses of the Australian alpine zone.

I then spent two years (2011-2013) as a postdoc at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where I worked with Yvonne Willi on Arabidopsis lyrata. During this time I developed a Genotyping-by-Sequencing SNP typing method for A. lyrata that is currently being used to investigate population history. I also investigated evolutionary shifts from outcrossing to self-fertilization across the species’ geographic range with a population genetics approach, taking into account historical demographic processes. In addition, I investigated flower morphology in the context of mating system variation.

I have a strong interest in the evolutionary impact of environmental change, and especially in applying novel genomic approaches to evolutionary and ecological questions. In my current position as Postdoctoral Researcher I am investigating the genomic basis of adaptation to climate change in Drosophila. Specifically, I am working on Genome-Wide Association (GWAS) approaches to identify loci associated with desiccation tolerance; pooled genome resequencing to investigate signatures of climate response in natural populations; and supporting the broader SIEF project through molecular monitoring of inbred lines and phylogenetics of the montium group Drosophila.

Other ongoing projects include investigating the heritability and inducibility of methylation across the Arabidopsis lyrata genome; and developing molecular and bioinformatic methods for using next-generation sequencing in plant phylogenetics.

Current Projects:

Genomic basis for adaptation to climate change

Heritability and inducibility of genome-wide methylation

Awards / Achievements:

2014 – University of Melbourne Early Career Researcher Grant Scheme Award

2012 – European Science Foundation Short Visit Grant ‘Quantifying epigenetic influence on phenotype and epigenetic profile changes under stress’

2007-2010 Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment


Griffin, P. C., & Hoffmann, A. A. (2014). Limited genetic divergence among Australian alpine Poa tussock grasses coupled with regional structuring points to ongoing gene flow and taxonomic challenges. Annals of Botany. DOI:10.1093/aob/mcu017

Griffin, P. C., & Willi, Y. (2014). Evolutionary shifts to self-fertilisation restricted to geographic range margins in North American Arabidopsis lyrata. Ecology Letters, DOI: 10.1111–ele.12248.

Willi, Y., Griffin, P., & Van Buskirk, J. (2013). Drift load in populations of small size and low density. Heredity, 110(3), 296–302.

James, E. A., Jordan, R., & Griffin, P. C. (2013). Spatial genetic analysis of two polyploid macrophytes reveals high connectivity in a modified wetland. Freshwater Biology, 58(10), 2102–2113.

Nash, M. A., Griffin, P. C., & Hoffmann, A. A. (2013). Inconsistent responses of alpine arthropod communities to experimental warming and thermal gradients. Climate Research, 55, 227–237.

Griffin, P. C., & Hoffmann, A. A. (2012). Mortality of Australian alpine grasses (Poa spp.) after drought: species differences and ecological patterns. Journal of Plant Ecology, 5(2), 121–133.

Griffin, P. C., Robin, C., & Hoffmann, A. A. (2011). A next-generation sequencing method for overcoming the multiple gene copy problem in polyploid phylogenetics, applied to Poa grasses. BMC Biology, 9(1), 19.

Hoffmann, A. A., Griffin, P. C., & Macraild, R. D. (2009). Morphological variation and floral abnormalities in a trigger plant across a narrow altitudinal gradient. Austral Ecology, 34(7), 780–792.

Griffin, P. C., Woodrow, I. E., & Newbigin, E. J. (2009). Population genetics of Ryparosa kurrangii (Achariaceae), a rare lowland rainforest tree. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 37(4), 334–340.


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