Victor Albert’s research employs genomic, developmental, and genetic approaches to understanding problems in plant evolutionary biology. Areas of current and recent interest include:
- Genome sequencing and biodiversity "omics" analysis of tropical Southeast Asian flora, including the clove genus (Syzygium: Myrtaceae), tembusu tree (Cyrtophyllum: Gentianaceae), giant corpse lily (Amorphophallus titanum; Araceae), and Nepenthes pitcher plant (Nepenthaceae).
- The genetic basis for convergent evolution and “adaptive” radiations of plant forms, for example in distantly related carnivorous plant lineages; this has included complete genome sequencing of the humped bladderwort, Utricularia gibba, butterwort species (Pinguicula), and other carnivorous plant species (e.g., Drosera - the sundews).
- The role of mechanistic co-option in the evolution of carnivorous plant physiology, for example, by repurposing of pathogenesis-related gene functions.
- Population genomic approaches to the study of interspecies admixture, local environmental adaptation, and the evolution of agriculturally important traits.
- Genomics of the coffee plant; seeking evidence for factors underlying the massive diversification of its parent lineage in fruit types and secondary compound chemistries, and working toward better knowledge of traits important for developing agricultural systems.
- Sequencing and characterization of the avocado and Amborella genomes, Amborella being the single sister species to all other flowering plants, and avocado lying near the base of angiosperm phylogeny; use these and other genomes in an attempt to uncover developmental regulatory mechanisms common to the “ancestral angiosperm”.
- Reconstruction of whole-genome duplication history as it relates to the diversification of flowering plants, also the ancestral gene order for all angiosperms.
- Evo-devo research on the evolution of reproductive development in flowering plants; topics include B-function MADS box genes and CYCLOIDEA-like genes; the former help specify petal identity, whereas the latter participate in the control of organ symmetry.