I have a broad range of research experiences that began during my career as an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. . During my undergraduate research experiences, I was privileged to study population dynamics of shy and majestic turtles species on the Missouri river in South Dakota. I was also fortunate enough to learn critical analytical and laboratory approaches to studying cell biology in the model moss, Physcomitrella patens, in Dr. Magdalena Bezanilla’s lab at Umass Amherst.
I then conducted M.S. thesis research at the University of South Dakota (go yotes!) in Dr. David Swanson’s Lab, where I investigated whether urea enhanced freezing survival in the boreal chorus frog (Pseudacris maculata). My thesis research resulted in a publication in Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry: Part A, titled “Urea is not a universal cryoprotectant among hibernating anurans: Evidence from the freeze-tolerant boreal chorus frog (Pseudacris maculata)“.
Currently, I am enrolled as a Ph.D. candidate in the Microbiology department at the University of Tennessee. My current research focuses on elucidating the contribution of fungi to nitrous oxide (a potent greenhouse gas) production from soils. In particular, my research utilizes experimental approaches (i.e., enrichment and cultivation) in conjunction with development of molecular tools to target denitrifying fungi in the environment. I’m also currently utilizing high-throughput sequencing to enhance our understanding of the diversity of denitrifying fungi in the environment in order to build a foundation for future studies regarding their contribution to nitroux oxide flux from soils. The Microbiology department at the University of Tennessee offers a a unique learning atmosphere, with major strengths in both environmental and pathogenesis related research. The level of academic comradery that I’ve witnessed within the Microbiology department is unmatched, and has enhanced my dissertation research significantly.