Dr. Schmidt is Professor of Biology, Chair of the Biology Department and the Principal Investigator at Schmidt Lab, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include evolutionary ecology, ecological and evolutionary genetics, neurobiology, behavior, and physiology as well as genetics, epigenetics, and genomics.
As a research group, Schmidt lab is broadly interested in the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of populations that experience environmental heterogeneity over various spatial and temporal scales. They seek to understand mechanistically how natural selection works in heterogeneous environments, the context dependency and many constraints on this process, and how this ultimately produces an adaptive response. Their research combines extensive sampling of natural populations and –omics level characterizations, laboratory-based classical and molecular genetics, and experimentation conducted in both the field and laboratory. Much of the work is centered on testing the functional significance of identified molecular polymorphism: establishing concrete links between allelic variation, physiologically mediated performance, and the differential fitness of genotypes among environments.