Phone: 520-621-BUGS (2847)
Office: Marley rooms 719/723
Mail: University of Arizona
Marley room 723
1145 E 4 St
Tucson, AZ 85721
I am interested in the processes and patterns involved in diversification that can ultimately influence functionality at the molecular level. I take an integrative approach in studying adaptation by combining bioinformatics, phylogenetic inference, protein-specific divergence, and selection studies.
My previous research programs have contributed to three areas of evolutionary biology: molecular evolution of gene families, systematics, and the study of adaptations at both macro (morphology) and micro (amino acid) levels. At the University of California, Berkeley, where I conducted my dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. Chelsea Specht, I studied the molecular evolution of digestive enzymes utilized in plant carnivory. In addition to this work, I explored the phylogenetic relationships and morphological adaptations among carnivorous plant genera of the Caryophyllales.
My current work focuses on the molecular evolution of chemoreception and host ant specialization in paussine beetles. Members of the subfamily Paussinae are both ecologically and evolutionarily interesting because of their myrmecophilous relationships, sometimes fully integrating into the social lives of ants. We will explore the genetic mechanisms behind host ant recognition using next-generation sequencing and will work to reconstruct the evolutionary history of chemosensory genes, while also examining functional divergence.