I study the ecology and evolution of viruses by combining field, bench, and computational approaches. My research focuses on understanding how ecology drives viral diversification and how this impacts the evolution of viral host jumping. I primarily use rapidly evolving RNA viruses, like the bacteria-infecting phage phi6 and influenza A virus. By experimental evolving phage, I can directly observe host jumping and subsequent adaptation under tightly controlled ecological conditions while preserving a frozen fossil record that can be later revived for further analysis. This approach is highly tractable, relevant to emerging infectious diseases, and accessible for both undergraduate and graduate students in the lab and classroom.
I received my BA in Biomathematics and Cognitive Science from Rutgers University. I earned my MS at Ohio University under the direction of Molly Morris and Oscar Rios-Cardenas. My PhD research was conducted at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Christina Burch and David Pfennig. I was a Brown Postdoctoral Fellow with Paul Turner and Jeremy Draghi at Yale University. Later, I was a teaching/research postdoc with Siobain Duffy at Rutgers University. I will be joining TTU after a working with Katia Koelle and Anice Lowen at Emory University.