I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at the University of San Francisco, where I teach courses in Microbiology, Ecology, and Bioinformatics. Prior to USF, I was a postdoc at the University of Arizona as a Gordon and Betty Moore Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation, working in the Arnold Lab. I am broadly interested in the intersection between microbial community and ecosystem ecology, and am currently examining it in the context of endophytic fungal communities via next-gen molecular methods. Much of my PhD dissertation at Stanford (as part of the Vitousek Lab) focused on the communities of foliar fungal endophytes that inhabit the asymptomatic leaves of 'ohi'a (Metrosideros polymorpha), an endemic Hawaiian tree, and in Narrowleaf (Populus angustifolia) and Black Cottonwood (P. trichocarpa). While these communities are incredibly diverse, particularly in the tropics, we know very little about their functions in ecosystems. Using a combination of field surveys and greenhouse manipulations, I am currently engaged in several different projects trying to understand what these enigmatic organisms are up to.
My undergrad degree was in Environmental Science and Public Policy and Social Anthropology at Harvard University. My ecological research during that time was focused on lowland wet forest communities along a substrate age (successional) gradient in Hawaii, with particular focus on how invasive species alter the successional trajectories of these forests.
I also was and am interested in understanding how differing environmental conceptions (scientific, indigenous, economic, etc) play out in the construction of public narrative and policy. After graduating from college, I spent a year in the Schrag geochemical oceanography lab reconstructing past climatic trends from oxygen isotope records in marine sulfate and in cores from long-lived tropical tree species. I also spent a year teaching in South Korea before starting grad school.