I am a Birmingham native with a passion for scientific research, education, and preservation of nature’s diversity. I began my scientific career as an undergraduate researcher studying cancer and nutrition, where I obtain laboratory skills and the foundations of research science that I am still building upon today. After completing a B.S. in Biology with a molecular focus, I was a lab manager & technician focused on Friedreich’s Ataxia research. Concurrently, I joined the staff of Fresh Air Family, a Birmingham non-profit organization focused on getting children and families outdoors to learn and appreciate the diversity of life around us, and progressed from camp director to education director.
After being in the workforce for 3 years, I decided I wanted a marriage between my love for the environment and ecology with my love for molecular biology research. This led to my transition into graduate school at Auburn University in the lab of Dr. Tonia S. Schwartz.
I am generally interested in the genetic and physiological mechanisms driving phenotypic (trait) diversity. This interest is focused in reptiles, however I am interested in other non-model organisms of significant ecological impact.
Understanding the complexities of phenotypic evolution requires a multi-factor approach, focusing on many levels of biological hierarchy.
My research approaches ecological questions connected with complex trait development at the levels of genomics, cell physiology through primary cell culture, and populations.