I am a PhD candidate at the University of Miami Department of Biology in the lab of Dr. Alex Wilson. I am broadly interested in how interactions between species influence the biology, ecology, and genomes of the interacting species. I am particularly fascinated by animal/bacterial mutualisms and how bacteria influence the evolutionary trajectory of their hosts.
For my dissertation, I am working on plant sap-feeding insects, such as aphids and mealybugs, that rely on obligate, intracellular symbiotic bacteria for nutrients. My research focuses on the molecular and functional evolution of genes that mediate nutritional interactions at the interface between sap-feeding insects and their bacterial symbionts.
Photo credit: Melissa Peerless