Hi there! I’m a researcher at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon in the Biology and the Built Environment Center (BioBE).
At the Biology and the Built Environment Center, I study the interactions between microorganisms and humans in the built environment (e.g. buildings, roads, cars, trains, etc.). I am seeking to gain an understanding of the underlying rules and mechanisms that drive the colonization, succession, and establishment of permanent microbial communities in the spaces in which we spend more than 90% of our time. I am interested in applying these rules and mechanisms to discovering novel techniques of prevention, intervention, and treatment of microbial-based illnesses with the goal of preventing the incidences of hospital-associated infections in healthcare environments.
In the Westerfield Laboratory as an undergraduate, I previously studied the molecular genetic basis of human diseases, particularly Usher syndrome, the leading cause of combined deafness and blindness, and other diseases of the eye and ear. Using a zebrafish model, we modeled disease progression using a combination of anatomical, physiological, molecular, and genetic techniques. The goal of our research was to identify disease-causing genes, to elucidate what goes wrong during disease, and to develop preclinical trials for new therapies. I also worked with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) to create models of disease in zebrafish to understand how specific genetic changes contribute to disease.