Since the fall of 2011, I have assisted with the General Biology courses at SLU in fall and spring semesters, teaching two lab sections and coordinating with other Gen Bio team members. In 1998, I earned a B.S. in Ecology and Environmental Biology with a concentration in Geography from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. During my undergraduate studies, I received extensive biological training at the organismal level, including systematic botany, mycology, ornithology, and mammalogy. I continued my education at ASU earning a M.S. in Biology in 2001. For my master’s thesis, I compared fungal communities in high elevation spruce-fir and northern hardwood forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains, specifically examining hypogeous fungi, or mushrooms that fruit underground (gourmet truffles are part of this group). During this research, I learned how to extract fungal DNA both from fruiting bodies as well as from the mycorrhizae occurring on tree roots. I continued with fungal field research in the Adirondack Mountains for two years, and then switched gears to work on very different biotic interactions.
In 2003, I started as a research technician at Trudeau Institute where I helped with experiments investigating the mammalian immune response to a latent gammaherpesvirus, Murine gammaherpes virus 68. During this work, I gained hands-on experience with animal models (mice), flow cytometry (a tool to measure cells), cell culture methods, and molecular quantification of viral loads.
My current position allows me to consider biology across its broadest range, from the global scale down to the molecular level. Teaching in both semesters of General Biology also allows me to contribute my experience in both field research and lab research to the developing minds of our next generation of scientists.