in alphabetical order
Interests: astrobiology, astronomy and astrophysics, and the resiliency of life as we know it.
I am interested in host-symbiont interactions, primarily at hydrothermal vents and other chemosynthetic environments. Some of the bigger-picture ideas that motivate my science include
how host and symbiont “communicate” or recognize one another to form a symbiosis, and the liminal cases that challenge the neatness of many of our standard dichotomies in biology (e.g.,
pathogen vs. mutualist). Using molecular and bioinformatic techniques, my current research seeks to understand the differences between host-associated symbionts (i.e., in the gills of hydrothermal vent snails from the Mariana back-arc) and their free-living counterparts (i.e., in the environment, where vent fluid mixes with deep ocean water); the division-of-labor among symbiont strains; and the potential role of viruses in host-symbiont dynamics.
I’m interested in anaerobic ciliates and their prokaryotic symbionts, specifically endosymbiotic methanogenic archaea.
Right now I am working with ciliates cultured from coastal marine sediment in New England, using molecular techniques to study the diversity and specificity of the symbiosis. I also plan to conduct environmental surveys and physiological experiments to learn more about the environmental parameters that govern their abundance and distribution, and to investigate the potential of this partnership to influence global biogeochemical cycles, especially through methane production.
B.S. Cell and Molecular Biology (concentration in biochemistry, minor in chemistry)
Interests: astrobiology- extremophiles, how life exists, adapts, and evolves in extreme environments.
B.S. Cell and Molecular Biology (concentration in biochemistry)
Interests: bacterial community interactions, the human microbiome, symbiosis, and deep-sea antimicrobial activity.