My long-term research interests include understanding the effects of human interactions in the ecology and evolution of microorganisms, particularly clinically relevant pathogens. Currently, I study the ecology and evolution of novel features integrating experimental evolution and molecular biology, with a focus on the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. My dissertation work will investigate the interactions between mobile genetic elements contained in a host, particularly interactions between co-occurring plasmids. I am interested in how antibiotic resistance genes from different plasmids end up together on the same “mosaic” plasmid. Such mosaics are implicated in multi-drug resistance—a current human health crisis.
I graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biology and minors in Evolution and Marine and Aquatic Science from Albright College in Reading, PA. During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to participate in REU programs at the California Academy of Sciences, where I studied the evolution of novel features in sand dollars fossils, and at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University, where I studied how the biogeochemistry of lakes affects populations of wild rice. I was also part of the University of Vermont-EPSCoR Research on Adaptation to Climate Change (RACC) program, researching how sediment release in Lake Champlain affects cyanobacteria blooms. Prior to these experiences, I conducted two projects at the University of Puerto Rico studying the ecology and populations of foraminifera and oligochaetes and how these organisms can be used as bioindicators. I am now pursuing a Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Washington.