Research in our lab centers around evolutionary processes in wildlife, from adaptation to changing conditions to diversification across space and time. Much of our work uses wildlife diseases as models to study adaptation. We combine field and lab approaches with genomic and bioinformatic tools to understand evolution in complex disease systems. Current research in the lab occurs in two main systems: 1) avian malaria in Hawaiian honeycreepers and 2) sylvatic plague in prairie dogs. These systems are explored across spatial and phylogenetic scales ranging from microevolution within populations to spatially dynamic communities in metapopulations to multiple species across a phylogeny.
May 2018: I had the opportunity to discuss our lab's research on the podcast Science For The People. I spoke after Boris Schmid, who discussed the critical role of fleas in plague transmission, and I talked about the effects of plague on prairie dogs and other wildlife. You can listen to the episode here!
May 2018: Congratulations graduating seniors Rebecca Harripersaud, Jeanette Calarco and Brenden Scott! You will be missed.
March 2018: Undergraduate student Jeanette Calarco earned a 10-week summer internship at NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. This summer, she will join the lab of Dr. Joseph Hinnebusch to study how the source of host blood affects Yersinia pestis infection in the gut and subsequent transmission. Congratulations, Jeanette!
Fall 2017: We are looking for a postdoctoral scholar to join the lab to work on evolutionary genomics in prairie dogs. The project combines ancient DNA, field work, genomics lab work and bioinformatic analyses to answer question about evolutionary processes across a continental scale.
September 2017: I was recently interviewed for the blog Scientists in Stitches (part of the Craftimism project, which interfaces crafts with science). You can read about how I got into science and what I love about it--as well as what I do when I'm not sciencing!--here.
Spring 2017: We are excited to learn that our proposal on malaria transmission across spatial and climatic gradients in Hawaii was funded by NSF through the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases program. Our lab is collaborating with Dina Fonseca (Rutgers), Rob Fleischer and Michael Campana (Smithsonian National Zoo), Nina Fefferman (University of Tennessee), Jeff Foster (Northern Arizona University), Marm Kilpatrick (UC Santa Cruz), and Eben Paxton (USGS Pacific Islands Research Center).
Winter 2017: In Defense of Science--I stand with other scientists nationwide in expressing my deep concern by the current administration’s move to gag scientists working at various governmental agencies. The US government employs scientists working on medicine, public health, agriculture, energy, space, clean water and air, weather, the climate and many other important areas. Their job is to produce data to inform decisions by policymakers, businesses and individuals. We are all best served by allowing these scientists to discuss their findings openly and without the intrusion of politics. Any attack on their ability to do so is an attack on our ability to make informed decisions as individuals, as communities and as a nation. If you are a government scientist who is blocked from discussing their work, you can email USScienceFacts@gmail.com to have your work shared with the public or the appropriate recipients.