I grew up in New Jersey, did my undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech majoring in Wildlife Science, and earned an M.S. in Conservation Medicine from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. I worked for the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Genetics Lab from 2013-2017 doing field and DNA/metabarcoding lab work mainly throughout the Caribbean on various projects focused on species and population ecology.
My research here at Texas Tech is part of a large government-funded, multi-disciplinary project involving 10+ institutions and over 80 scientists across the globe. This wider project is working to better understand the ecological drivers of virus spillover and spread using flying foxes as our model organism and the zoonotic Hendra virus as our model virus. Australia is our main focus, with additional research being conducted in Madagascar, Bangladesh, and Ghana. This creates a unique opportunity to study this complex disease system from all angles, making it an ideal system to learn from for future spillovers and spread.
The central point of my research is on the movement ecology of residential bat camps in Queensland Australia. I did 17 months of fieldwork in Brisbane and the surrounding area tracking individual residential bats while collecting additional data on population body condition measurements and interpretation, using BIA, or Bioelectric Impedance Analysis and DXA scanning (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry).
I am co-advised by Dr. Tigga Kingston of Texas Tech University and Dr. Liam McGuire of the University of Waterloo