The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Laura Boykin

Dr Laura Boykin

Senior Research Fellow
Molecular Sciences, School of

Contact details
School of Molecular Sciences
The University of Western Australia (M310)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 4488
Personal homepage
BA Occidental Coll.(Calif.), MA S.Francisco State, PhD New Mexico
Laura Boykin is an American computational biologist who uses genomics and supercomputing to help smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa control whiteflies, which have caused devastation of local cassava crops. Using genetic data to understand the whitefly’s evolution, Boykin’s research has proven important genetic differences in various whitefly species. Boykin also works to equip African scientists with a greater knowledge of genomics and high-performance computing skills to tackle future insect outbreaks. Boykin completed her PhD in biology at the University of New Mexico while working at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group, and is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Molecular Sciences and the ARC CoE Plant Energy Biology at the University of Western Australia. She was recently named a Senior TED Fellow.
Key research
Interests: Phylogenetics, Computational Biology, Invasion Biology, Evolution, Global Biosecurity, Cassava, whiteflies.
Boykin, L.M., T. Kinene, J. Wainaina, J. Colvin, S. Seal, M.N. Maruthi, H. Mugerwa, S. van Brunschot, H.L. Wang, E. Fiallo-Olivé, J. Navas-Castillo, S.S. Liu, S. Macfadyen, P. De Barro, W.T. Tay, D. Ouvrard, A. Polaszek, L. Kubatko, D. Kachigamba, T. Alicai, C.A. Omongo, F. Tairo, J. Ndunguru and P. Sseruwagi. 2017. Review and future guide to the naming system of African Bemisia tabaci species. Systematic Entomology. Submitted February 2017

Wainaina, J., P.J. De Barro., L. Kubatko, M.A. Kehoe, J. Harvey, D. Karanja, and L.M. Boykin 2017. Global Phylogenetic Relationships, Population Structure and Gene Flow Estimation of Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Greenhouse whitefly). Bulletin of Entomological Research. Accepted March 2017

Manani, D. E.M. Ateka, S.R.G. Nyanjom, L.M. Boykin. 2017. Phylogenetic relationships amoung whiteflies in the Bemisia tabaci species complex from major cassava growing areas of Kenya. Insects (81): 25. doi:10.3390/insects8010025

Alicai, T., Ndunguru, J., Sseruwagi,P., Tairo, F., Okao-Okuja,G. Nanvubya, R., Kiiza, L., Kubatko, K., Kehoe,M.A., and Boykin, L.M. 2016. Cassava brown streak virus has a rapidly evolving genome: implications for virus speciation, variability, diagnosis and host resistance. Scientific Reports 6: 36164

Kinene, T., Wainaina, J., Maina, S., and Boykin, L.M. 2016. Rooting Trees, Methods for. In: Kliman, R.M. (ed.),
Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology. vol. 3, pp. 489–493. Oxford: Academic Press.

Williams, A.V., J.T Miller, I. Small, P.G. Nevill, and L.M. Boykin. 2015. Integration of complete chloroplast genome sequences with small amplicon datasets improves phylogenetic resolution in Acacia. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2015.11.021

Ndunguru, J., P. Sseruwagi, F. Tairo, F. Stomeo, S. Maina, A. Djikeng, M. Kehoe, L. M. Boykin. 2015.
Analyses of twelve new whole genome sequences of Cassava Brown Streak Viruses and Ugandan Cassava Brown Streak Viruses from east Africa: Diversity, supercomputing and evidence for further speciation. PLoS ONE 10 (10), E0139321 (2015)

Lashkari, M., M. Hentz and L.M. Boykin. 2015. Morphometric comparisons of Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae) populations from Iran, USA and Pakistan. PeerJ 3: e946.

Williams, A.V., L.M. Boykin, K.A Howell, P.G. Nevill and I.D. Small. 2015. The complete sequence of the Acacia ligulata chloroplast genome reveals a highly divergent clpP1 gene. PLoS ONE 10 (e0125768), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125768.

Boykin, L.M. and P. De Barro. 2014. A practical guide to identifying members of the Bemisia tabaci species
complex: and other morphologically identical species. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.3389/fevo.2014.00045.

Schutze M.K., Aketarawong N., Amornsak W., Armstrong K.F., Augustinos A.A., Barr N., Bo W., Bourtzis K.,
Boykin L.M., Cáceres C., Cameron S.L., Chapman T.A., Chinvinijkul S., Chomič A., De Meyer M., Drosopoulou E., Englezou A., Ekesi S., Gariou-Papalexiou A., Geib S.M., Hailstones D., Hasanuzzaman M., Haymer D., Hee A.K.W., Hendrichs J., Jessup A., Ji Q., Khamis F.M., Krosch M.N. Leblanc, Mahmood K., Malacrida A.R., Mavragani-Tsipidou P., Mwatawala M., Nishida R., Ono H., Reyes J., Rubinoff D., San Jose M., Shelly T.E., Srikachar S., Tan K.H., Thanaphum S., Ul-Haq I., Vijaysegaran S., Wee S.L., Yesmin F., Zacharopoulou A., Clarke A.R. 2014. Synonymization of key pest species within the Bactrocera dorsalis species complex (Diptera: Tephritidae): taxonomic changes based on 20 years of integrative morphological, molecular, cytogenetic, behavioral, and chemoecological data. 2014. Systematic Entomology. DOI: 10.1111/syen.12113

Wang, H.L., J. Yang, L. M. Boykin, Q.Y. Zhao, Y.J. Wang, S.S. Liu, X.W. Wang. 2014. Development,
characterization and analysis of microsatellite markers from the transcriptomes of three whitefly Bemisia tabaci species. Scientific Reports. doi:10.1038/srep06351.

Polston, J.E., P.J. De Barro and L.M. Boykin. 2014. Transmission specificities of plant viruses with the newly
identified species of the Bemisia tabaci species complex. Pest Management Science 70:1457-52.

Boykin, L.M. 2014. Bemisia tabaci nomenclature: Lessons learned. Pest Management Science 70:1454-59.

Boykin, L.M., C.D. Bell, G. Evans, I. Small and P De Barro. 2013. Is agriculture driving the diversification of the Bemisia tabaci species complex (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Aleyrodidae)? Dating, diversification and biogeographic evidence revealed. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013: 13:228. 

Lashkari, M., A. Sahragard, S.Manzari, V. Malagnini, L.M. Boykin* and R.Hosseini. 2013. Global genetic
variation of the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) and the primary endosymbiont Wolbachia: links between Iran and the USA detected. *Corresponding author. Pest Management Science 70(7): 1033-1040.

White, B.P., E.M. Pilgrim, L.M. Boykin, E.D. Stein, R.D. Mazor. 2013. Application of four species
delimitation methods to a DNA barcoding data set of Southern California insect larvae: Baetis (Ephemeroptera: Baetidae), Eukiefferiella (Diptera: Chironomidae), and Simulium (Diptera: Simuliidae). Freshwater Science 33(1): 338-348.

Liu, S. J. Melonek, L.M. Boykin, I. Small and K.A. Howell. 2013. PPR-SMRs: ancient proteins with enigmatic
functions. RNA Biology 10(9): 1-10.

Wang, H.L., J. Yang, L.M. Boykin, Q.Y. Zhao, Q. Li, X.W. Wang and S.S. Liu. 2013. The first insight into the characteristics and expression profiles of the mitochondrial genome for the Mediterranean species of the Bemisia tabaci species complex. BMC Genomics 4: 401.

Boykin, L.M., M.K. Schutze, M.N. Krosch, A. Chomič, T.A. Chapman, A. Englezou, K.F. Armstrong, A.R. Clarke, D. Hailstones, and S. L. Cameron. 2013. Multi-gene phylogenetic analysis of south-east Asian pest members of the Bactrocera dorsalis species complex (Diptera: Tephritidae) does not support current taxonomy. Journal of Applied Entomology 138(4): 235-253.

Krosch, M.N., M.K. Schutze, K.F. Armstrong, Y. Boontop, L.M. Boykin, T.A. Chapman, A. Englezou, S.L.
Cameron, D.L. Hailstones and A.R. Clarke. 2013. Piecing together an integrative taxonomic puzzle: microsatellite, wing shape and aedeagus length analyses of Bactrocera dorsalis s.l. (Diptera: Tephritidae) find no evidence of multiple lineages in a proposed contact zone along the Thai/Malay Peninsula. Systematic Entomology 38: 2-13.

Tay, W.T., G. A. Evans, L.M. Boykin, P.J. De Barro. 2012. Will the real Bemisia tabaci please stand up?
PLoS ONE 7(11): e50550. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050550.

Boykin, L.M., K.Armstrong, L. Kubatko and, P. De Barro. 2012. DNA Barcoding Invasive Insects: Database
Roadblocks. Invertebrate Systematics 26: 506-514.

Boykin, L.M., P. De Barro, C. McKenzie, W. Hunter, C. Powell, D.G. Hall, and R.G. Shatters, Jr. 2012.
Overview of worldwide diversity of Diaphorina citri Kuwayama mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 haplotypes: two Old World lineages and a New World invasion. Bulletin of Entomological Research 102: 573-582.

Boykin, L.M., K.F. Armstrong, L. Kubatko, and P. De Barro. 2012. Species Delimitation and Global
Biosecurity. Evolutionary Bioinformatics 8: 1-37.
Video abstract:

Collins, R., L.M. Boykin, R. Cruickshank and K.F. Armstrong. 2012. Barcoding’s Next Top Model: can
K2P go the Distance?. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 3(3): 457-465.

De Barro, P.J., S. Liu, L.M. Boykin, and A.B. Dinsdale. 2011. Bemisia tabaci: A Statement of Species
Status. Annual Review of Entomology. 56 :1–19.

deWaard, J.R., Mitchell, A., Keena, M.A., Gopurenko, D., Boykin, L.M., Armstrong, K.F., Pogue, M.G.,
Lima, J., Floyd, R., Hanner, R.H. and Humble, L.M. 2010. Towards a global barcode library for
Lymantria (Lepidoptera: Lymantriinae) tussock moths of biosecurity concern. PLoS ONE 5(12):

Boykin, L.M., R.G. Shatters, Jr., D.G. Hall, D. Dean, and P. Beerli. 2010. Genetic variation of Anastrepha
suspensa (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Florida and the Caribbean using DNA microsatellite markers.
Journal of Economic Entomology. 103(6): 2214-2222.

Boykin, L. M., L.A. Salter and T.K. Lowrey. 2010. Comparison of methods for rooting phylogenetic trees:
A case study using Orcuttieae (Poaceae: Chloridoideae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
54(3): 687-700.

Hunter, W.B., Shelby, K., Boykin, L.M., Dang, P.M., Weathersbee III A.A. 2009. Ribosomal proteins and
expressed sequence tags from Lysiphlebus testaceipes (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae). Florida Scientist.
72(3): 196-207.
Shatters, Jr., R.G. C. A. Powell, L. M. Boykin, H. Liansheng, and C. L. McKenzie. 2009. Improved DNA
Barcoding Method for Bemisia tabaci and Related Aleyrodidae: Development of Universal and
Bemisia tabaci Biotype-Specific Mitochondrial Cytochrome c Oxidase I Polymerase Chain Reaction
Primers. Journal of Economic Entomology 102(2): 750-758.

Boykin, L. M., W. T. Pockman, and T.K. Lowrey. 2008. Leaf anatomy of Orcuttieae (Poaceae:
Chloridoideae): More evidence of C4 photosynthesis without Kranz anatomy. Madroño 55:143-150.

Boykin, L.M., R.A. Bagnall, D.R.Frohlich, D.G. Hall, W.B. Hunter, C.S. Katsar, C.L. McKenzie, R.C.
Rosell, and R.G. Shatters, Jr. 2007. Twelve polymorphic microsatellite loci from the Asian Citrus
Psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, the vector for citrus greening disease, Huanglongbing.
Molecular Ecology Notes 7: 1202-1204.

Boykin, L.M., R.G. Shatters, Jr., R.C. Rosell, C.L. McKenzie, R.A. Bagnall, P. De Barro, and D.R.
Frohlich. 2007. Global Relationships of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) revealed using Bayesian Analysis of mitochondrial COI DNA sequence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44: 1306-1319.

Boykin, L.M. R.G. Shatters, Jr., D.G. Hall, R.E. Burns, and R. A. Franqui. 2006. Analysis of Host
Preference and Geographic Distribution of Anastrepha suspensa (Diptera: Tephritidae) Using
Phylogenetic Analyses of Mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I DNA Sequence Data. Bulletin of
Entomological Research 96: 457-469.

Shatters, R.G., L.M. Boykin, S.L. Lapointe, A. Weathersbee, and W. Hunter. 2006. Phylogenetic and
structural relationships of PR-5 gene family reveals an ancient multigene family conserved in plants
and select animal taxa. Journal of Molecular Evolution 63: 12-29.

Boykin, L. M., M. C. Vasey, V. T. Parker, and R. Patterson. 2005. Two lineages of Arctostaphylos
(Ericaceae) identified using the Internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear genome.
Madroño 53 (3): 139-147.

Kuiken, C., Yusim, K., Boykin, L.M and R. Richardson. 2005. The Los Alamos Hepatitis C Sequence
Database. Bioinformatics 21(3): 379-384.

Macken, C., H. Lu, J. Goodman, and L. Boykin. 2001. The value of a database in surveillance and vaccine
selection. Pp. 103-106 in A.D.M.E Osterhaus, N. Cox & A.W Hampson, eds. Options for the Control
of Influenza IV. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam.

Boykin, L.M., Lu. H., Macken C. A., Mukundan P.H., Naik A. K. 2000. Reconstructing the Evolution of
Influenza B Viruses Using Maximum Likelihood Methods. Los Alamos Unclassified Report
(LAUR) 00-764.

Keeley, Jon and L. Boykin. 1997. Phenetic Analysis of Arctostaphylos parryana. I. Two new burl-forming
subspecies. Madroño 44(3): 253-257. analysis of arctostaphylos parryana two new burl f.pdf
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Senior Research Fellow, Lab Head, Lecturer and Activist.
Funding received
African Cassava Whitefly Project (NRI/BMGF)
Crawford Fund
Society for Systematic Biologists
Honours and awards
Senior TED Fellowship 2017
TED Fellowship 2015
United Nations Solution Summit Fellow, 2015
Faculty of Science Rising Star 2015 (winner)
SCIE4002 Bioinformatics and Data Analysis for Genomics
Useful links
New and noteworthy
My TEDxPerth Talk:
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM