Curriculum vitae (PDF)


B.S. Biological Science, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California     2007

Ph.D. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona    2012

Dissertation title: Horizontal gene transfer and plastid endosymbiosis in dinoflagellate gene innovation

Committee: Jeremiah D. Hackett (chair), A. Elizabeth Arnold, Matthew B. Sullivan, Michael W. Nachman


Research Interests

In broad terms, my research is on the genomic basis of evolutionary innovation, which I study in plants, fungi, and eukaryotic microbes. By integrating my findings across diverse lineages, I aim to evaluate the timing, consequence, and generality of different genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of novel traits in organisms. The traits that I focus on—specialized metabolic pathways—arise as lineage-specific innovations that allow organisms to interact with and manage their environment (e.g., resist abiotic stress, combat negative ecological interactions and promote beneficial ones). Questions that drive my research include: What is the relative contribution of gene duplication, horizontal gene transfer, and other sources of innovation such as de novo gene formation in the birth of new metabolic pathways? What is the speed and importance of gene innovation at the regulatory versus enzymatic level? How does the impact of these processes vary across environments and between lineages?

Employment History

  • 2017 – Present: Assistant Professor, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
  • 2013 – 2017: Postdoctoral Researcher, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  • 2008 – 2012: Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) Fellow, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  • 2007 – 2008: Graduate teaching Assistant, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA


  • National Plant Genome Initiative Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation "The evolution of secondary metabolic gene clusters in plants" (2014-2017)
  • Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, National Science Foundation "Dissertation Research: Determining the role of horizontal gene transfer on plastid acquisition and endosymbiosis", P.I. Jeremiah D. Hackett (2010-2011)
  • Graduate and Professional Student Council travel grant, University of Arizona (2010)
  • Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) Fellowship, University of Arizona (2008-2011)

Awards and Honors

  • Postdoc of the Year, Vanderbilt University (2017)
  • DeLill Nasser Travel Award, Genetics Society of America (2016)
  • Harold C. Bold Award for outstanding student research presentation, Phycological Society of America (2012)
  • Judge’s Choice for excellent video and poster presentation, NSF IGERT PI meeting (2012)
  • Robert W. Hoshaw Scholarship, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona (2011)
  • Outstanding Scholarship Award, College of Science, University of Arizona (2011)
  • Galileo Circle Scholarship, University of Arizona College of Science (2010)
  • Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2009)
  • Malcolm Oliphant Marine Science Scholarship, Humboldt State University (2005)
  • Presidential Scholar, Humboldt State University (2004-2006)

Teaching Experience

  • Guest Lecturer, The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt, 2013-2016
  • Genome Science, Guest Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, Fall 2013
  • Quantitative Evolutionary and Comparative Genomics: Genomic Responses to Selection, Invited Tutor, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Summer 2012
  • Human Genetics and Evolution, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Arizona, Spring 2012
  • Functional Genomics, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Arizona, Fall 2011
  • Marine Biology, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Arizona, Spring 2008
  • Ecology, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Arizona, Fall 2007