University of Maryland- College Park
Ph. D. Biology, 2009
Research at The Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Biology, Smithsonian Institution
B.S. Biology, 2000
Music Double Major
University of the Virgin Islands
Semester Abroad, fall of junior year
I am fascinated by what I see around me. I like to understand why one species looks like or does this, while another species looks or does something different. I am interested in how natural selection pressures (such as diseases) may influence the evolution of a trait, such as the immune system, within a host species. I am also interested in how sexual selection (i.e. mate choice) influences the evolution of traits. In some instances, natural and sexual selection affect the same trait. Take for instance the immune system. You would expect that host’s immune systems evolve to best protect the host. You might also hypothesize that females would choose males with a “good” immune system, so those genes are passed to her offspring. Testing these hypotheses in wild systems is of great interest to me, and can help explain how the evolution of disease, immunity, and mate choice are intertwined.