Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota
1980 Folwell Avenue, 219 Hodson Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108
BS in Microbiology, Iowa State University
I have always enjoyed catching and photographing insects. My research interest is in host insects and their microbial symbionts. My first introduction to insect endosymbionts was in a parasitology course, discussing the use of Wolbachia-infected mosquitos to manipulate reproduction and vector competence in wild mosquito populations. Wolbachia and other endosymbionts play important roles in insect immunity, reproduction, nutrition, and metabolism. In many cases, the host and symbiont have lost essential genes over evolutionary time and have become entirely dependent on one another for survival. These obligate endosymbionts have weird, tiny genomes that are really interesting to study.
Why University of Minnesota?
I chose the University of Minnesota for its excellent entomology program and the opportunity to work with researchers that share my passion for insects and microbiology. The graduate student organization is also excellent and I am looking forward to participating in outreach programs.
I hope to contribute to the development of techniques for genetic manipulation in Wolbachia and other obligate intracellular bacteria. I also want to get involved in insect conservation, particularly of native pollinators and fireflies.
Euglossine bees are incredibly beautiful and their relationship with orchids is so unique.
I keep and breed poison dart frogs (Dendrobatidae), I am an amateur lapidarist (stone polisher) and jewelry maker, and I enjoy hiking, nature photography, and rock collecting.
Coffee or Tea?
Areas of Interest