I am broadly interested in understanding the genetic basis of evolutionary processes, specifically the generation and maintenance of phenotypic variation and the maintenance of reproductive isolation during secondary contact between sister species.
My current work focuses on investigating pollinator-mediated reproductive isolation between two species of Mimulus wildflowers native to the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. I am specifically looking at the effect of pigmentation and scent on attraction and visitation by hawkmoths (Sphingidae), which are known to pollinate one species of Mimulus in California (Mimulus aurantiacus).
I work in the field of speciation, specifically looking at reproductive isolation between sister species of wildflowers in the genus Mimulus (monkeyflowers, Phrymaceae). My earlier work in graduate school at UW focused on the role of floral color in potentiating novel pollinator responses of hawkmoths (Sphingidae) in pollinating Mimulus. Currently I study the role of floral scents in determining pollinator response to two species of Mimulus that are kept isolated primarily by pollinator preference (97.6% of isolation in sympatry). Additional side projects include investigating scent in aroids (including Amorphophallus) and the single species of Mimulus that is pollinated by hawkmoths. I am co-advised by Dr. H.D. "Toby" Bradshaw and Dr. Jeffrey Riffell.
I completed an S.B. in Biology in 2007 from MIT with a minor in music, pursing summer research in the laboratories of Dr. Chris Kaiser (studying FAD transportation in yeast) and Dr. Martin Polz (closing contig sequences into genomes in two species of Vibrio bacteria). Before attending the University of Washington, I worked for a year as a technical research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Martha Bulyk studying transcription factor binding sites in yeast using the laboratory's protein-binding microarrays.
While in my first year at the University of Washington I rotated through the laboratories of Dr. Veronica Di Stilio (studying gene expression in floral development of Thalictrum delavayi, Dr. H.D. "Toby" Bradshaw (potentiating a novel pollinator response in Mimulus), and Dr. Katie Peichel (studying pigmentation gene expression in larval stickleback fish).