Throughout my (continuing) science journey, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a number of diverse research projects and work with many talented scientists. I look forward to adding to this list.
Jiang Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Horticulture (2006-2008)
As an undergrad at UW-Madison in the Jiang Lab, I collaborated on a project investigating resistance to the potato late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans, the causative agent of the infamous Irish potato famine. The plant resistance gene RB from a wild potato species confers resistance to P. infestans, and transgenic RB potato lines are promising for late blight control in agricultural systems. We investigated transcript abundance of the RB gene (and other genes involved in RB-mediated disease resistance) in these transgenic potato lines.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008-2010)
Post-undergrad, I received an ORISE research fellowship at the CDC National Botulism Laboratory Team (NBLT). The botulinum toxin, produced by the soil bacteria Clostridium botulinum, causes flaccid paralysis and is one of the most potent neurotoxins known to humans. I helped to develop and validate a botulinum neurotoxin gene qRT-PCR assay to be used in outbreak cases. I also investigated the toxin gene diversity of Type F toxin producing organisms.
Buckley Lab, Cornell University (2010-2016)
I earned my PhD from Cornell University under the guidance of Daniel Buckley. My work focused on describing and explaining patterns of biogeography of soil-dwelling Streptomyces. Streptomyces are important players in the terrestrial carbon cycle and also produce most of the antibiotics we use (i.e. total badasses). We found that patterns of diversity and biogeography of Streptomyces across the United Sates are similar to those observed in many plant and animal systems resulting from post-Pleistocene glaciation dynamics. I’ve applied a kitchen sink of population genetic and genomic approaches to infer the historical evolutionary processes generating patterns of Streptomyces biogeography.
MBL Microbial Diversity (2012-2013)
For two amazing summers in Wood’s Hole, MA, I had the opportunity to TA the Microbial Diversity at Marine Biological Laboratories. Rainbow-colored microbial mats, flaming methane swamps, and secret midnight bioluminescence swims… about sums it up.
Fierer Lab, University of Colorado-Boulder CIRES (2016-present)
I joined the Fierer Lab as a postdoc in August 2016. I am currently working on developing a system to investigate the ecological role of microbial derived volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from soil and pure bacterial cultures isolated from soil. In addition, I am continuing to investigate drivers of dispersal and patterns of spatial distribution with a focus on dust-associated microbes.