I am interested in how plants sense and respond to environmental changes, and would like to use an approach that integrates scientific disciplines. I received my Masters in Forest Resources at the University of Washington under the advisement of Dr. Soo-Hyung Kim, working to understand how reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), an aggressive wetland weed, will respond to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Under our current atmospheric conditions, reed canary grass uses carbon to grow rapidly and shade out other plant species, but it also stores carbon in underground structures called rhizomes allowing it to spread into new locations. Reed canary grass is aided by fertilizer in agricultural run-off, and so I considered the effects of CO2 in conjunction with fertilization.
I am now pursuing a PhD in Biology, and will be co-advised by Dr. Kim and Dr. Takato Imaizumi (Biology Department) so that I can learn a broad range of techniques by which to understand plant/environment interactions. Plants, like all organisms, have an intrinsic clock which allows them to record changes in day length and temperature ensuring that important life events like bud-break or flowering occur at the right time. I will be working to understand the molecular mechanisms by which plants sense variations in temperature, and will use my background in physiological ecology to test our conclusions under more natural conditions.