I am an educator and molecular biologist completing my Ph.D. at Duke University studying under the mentorship of Dr. David Tobin. I am captivated by questions of how organisms interact with one another in their quests for survival. One of the major arenas in which this competition plays out is during infection - pathogens and their hosts are in constant conflict as the pathogen seeks to replicate, survive, and spread while the host seeks to eradicate it. I study this process using mycobacterial infection in zebrafish as a model for the interaction between humans and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We apply approaches spanning the disciplines of cell biology, microbiology, immunology, molecular genetics, and beyond to address fundamental questions in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis.
I completed my undergraduate degree at Transylvania University with degrees in Biology (Molecular and Cellular Track) and Political Science. This synthetic background has provided both personal and professional enrichment and offered a unique perspective on key biological questions. While there, I studied under Dr. Paul Duffin to investigate the mechanisms of natural transformation in commensal Neisseria species, which interact with pathogenic species (N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae) in the nasopharynx and may serve as an important signaling partner, latent source of antibiotic resistance alleles, and more.
My expertise includes zebrafish and bacterial genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, immunology, and bioinformatics with particular emphasis on host-pathogen interactions. I am particularly passionate about using these fields to teach undergraduates in the small liberal arts setting and explore their connections to notions of equity, pedagogy, and access in a twenty-first century educational and political environment.