Research

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Science is a way of thinking.

 

I am a Ph.D. student in Stanford University's Department of Biology. In the Ecology and Evolution cluster, I work in the Fukami Lab studying priority effects and historical contingency in nectar yeast populations. I am a Stanford Graduate Fellow (2017-2022) and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (2017-2020). Before coming to Stanford, I completed a concurrent undergraduate/graduate (M.Sc.) degree at the University of Michigan in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology. 

 
Mimulus aurantiacus flower, image source: Rice Canyon Demonstration Gardens

Mimulus aurantiacus flower, image source: Rice Canyon Demonstration Gardens


Stanford University Biology Department: Fukami Lab

In the Fukami lab, I research the chemical and genetic mechanisms that may contribute to priority effects exerted by Mimulus aurantiacus nectar microbes. I am interested in using analytical chemistry and molecular biology to investigate these questions. 


ECOLOGY

During my PhD, I am interested in investigating the influence of immigration on the end states of natural communities. Specifically, I am using a nectar microbe system to investigate the mechanisms yeasts use to exert priority effects in a floral nectar environment. During my undergraduate research, I investigated the role of global change (elevated carbon dioxide) on the chemical ecology and population dynamics of insect herbivores. 

CHEMISTRY

In every ecosystem, there is an invisible web of chemicals that mediate interactions between individuals. I use analytical chemistry to identify and isolate these chemical compounds in order to learn how they influence interactions between individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems.

GENETICS

Molecular biology provides a helpful set of tools and approaches with which to investigate the mechanisms that may drive changes in community composition. Using two approaches, gene cloning and population genetics, I am interested in investigating how genes influence community structure and function. 


University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute: Sherman Lab

During my master's degree, I researched in the lab of Dr. David Sherman (Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Department of Microbiology & Immunology) in collaboration with Dr. Shasha Li. Studying the pharmacological effects of natural products produced by non-model bacteria, I used molecular cloning and analytical chemistry (LC-MS, TOF MS, HPLC, NMR) to elucidate the biosynthetic pathway of hapalindole natural products in the cyanobacteria Fisherella ambigua (UTEX 1806).

Life Sciences Institute video featuring research from the Sherman Lab.  

 

University of Michigan Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology: Hunter Lab

As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, I completed my Honors Thesis and a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates ( NSF REU) with Dr. Mark Hunter (Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) at the University of Michigan Biological Station. In this research, I investigated the effects of elevated, atmospheric carbon dioxide on plant chemistry, specifically two milkweed species, Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed) and Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed), and how this changing plant chemistry may mediate plant-herbivore interactions with a specialist herbivore, Aphis nerii (Oleander aphid).

 
 

Awards & Recognition

2017

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow

Stanford Graduate Fellow in Science and Engineering (3 year)

2016

2017 Rhodes Scholarship Finalist – District 11

Christine Psujek Memorial Undergraduate Award, Program in Biology

Marshall Nirenberg Life Sciences Award, Goldstein LSA Honors Prize

Phi Kappa Phi Project Grant, Student Vice President

Phi Beta Kappa Inductee

James B. Angell Scholar

University Honors

2015

LSA Honors Critical Difference Grant (funding Honors thesis).

NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates)

2014

Alpha Chi Sigma (ΑΧΣ) Outstanding First Year Student Award (Chemistry Department)

University of Michigan Matt Kelley/Granader Family Prize for Excellence in First Year Writing, Sweetland Center for Writing