As a veterinarian, I am interested in the physiological, immunological, and pathological processes occurring inside hosts in response to infectious disease pressures. Why do hosts get the infections that they do, when they do? What makes some hosts more susceptible than others, and what drives seasonal susceptibility? How do current infections affect hosts’ abilities to fight off other infectious agents? I am particularly interested in the immunomodulatory effects of macroparasite infections, with the goal of bringing immunology out of controlled laboratory settings and ground-truthing previous lab-based animal research in more variable, natural systems.
For my PhD research in ecology, I studied coinfection trade-offs in wild herbivores in a natural anthrax and gastrointestinal (GI) parasite system in Africa. For my postdoctoral work, I extended this research into new African systems and new species, examining the interactions of the gut microbiome with GI macroparasites in wild, non-human primates. I continue to research parasite and microbiome sharing through the environment, the dynamics of environmentally-transmitted pathogens, and conservation of macroparasites.
I now work in industry, in a molecular technology company that engineers microbes to create biomaterials. In this role, I drive all of our company's scientific publications, and collaborate with academic labs for knowledge sharing. I also research and write about the future of biotechnology and sustainability in industry.