The majority of my time is involved in the research of host-microbe interactions. In particular, I'm drawn to questions aimed at understanding how microbes can encourage their selfish spread through insect populations.
My undergraduate research experience was key in shaping my current career trajectory. I do everything I can to pass the experience on to others and guide them through research from conception of ideas to publication.
2020 - Present
Postdoc, University of Montana
Brandon Cooper's Lab
2015 - 2020
PhD, Vanderbilt University
Seth Bordenstein's Lab
2011 - 2015
BS, East Tennessee State University
Karl Joplin's and Darrell Moore's labs
The lab is a great way to learn, but formal education is still required to develop scientific literacy. I received a certificate in college teaching and taught several lab-based Introduction to Biology courses, including a project focused lab resulting in a publication.
It has become increasingly apparent that we are not individuals. Instead, we represent an ecosystem comprised of eukaryotic cells, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other entities. These relationships can have profound impacts on host biology. For instance, approximately half of all arthropod species are infected with an intracellular bacteria called Wolbachia that transmits from mom to offspring. This bacteria has a suite of tools it uses to increase its transmission efficiency in a population, termed reproductive parasitism. My research aims to understand the genetic, mechanistic, and evolutionary underpinings of reproductive parasitism.