From MolEvol

I am a PhD student at Cornell University in the departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (advisor: André Dhondt) and Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences (advisor: Michael Stanhope). I am interested in the evolution of malarial parasites in wildlife. Most of my work has focused on Plasmodium spp. from avian hosts in the eastern Afrotropics (Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo), though I also study parasites of birds from the Neotropics (Peru, Nicaragua, Brazil) and haemosporidian parasites of old world bats. Haemosporidian parasites are incredibly diverse, and maintain labile relationships with their hosts through space and time. In addition to describing many new parasite lineages from these poorly sampled regions of the world, I am using a phylogenomic approach to study diversification, host-specialization, and host-switching of parasites between vertebrate classes.

My research is intimately connected to the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, IL), where a strong interface between scientific research and science communication exists. I am very interested in exploring ways to share research findings with the general public, and I have maintained my involvement with outreach and training programs at the FMNH in addition to pursuing my graduate work. I have been involved with media productions that document discovery in the field, and I am currently working on a documentary of my latest FMNH expedition in Uganda, with the aid of the media production unit at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology - so stay tuned!

View a recent documentary of our 2011 expedition in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique (produced by colleague Federico Pardo): Discovering Mount Gorongosa

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