Primates-including humans-use their senses to guide their food choices. Dr. Amanda Melin, Canada Research Chair in Primate Genomics and Dietary Ecology, is investigating the systems that allow primates to find, evaluate and digest foods, and how variations in these systems can affect primates’ ability to adapt and stay healthy.
Melin is using a multidisciplinary approach that combines behavioural observations with investigations of the genes and gene products that are essential to digestive function (including functions contributed by gut microbiota) and sensory function (such as sight, smell, touch and taste). She and her research team are trying to answer key questions about the origins and adaptive radiation of primates. They are also exploring the causes and consequences of variations that lead to sensory and digestive diseases in humans and other primates.