I grew up in Nebraska… I earned a bachelor of sciences from the state university in Lincoln with a couple of majors and several minors. After I finished my degree, I spent some time adrift across country and overseas, and then found a home for graduate studies in the department of Entomology back in Lincoln.
I quickly realized I loved chasing insects, identifying them, and questioning why they exist. Insects make me happy. But after I finished my degree, I left home to venture into the plant kingdom. After all, neither I nor my passion would exist without plants. And what could be more intimate when studying plant-insect interactions than to investigate an insect living inside a plant!
I am interested in many things but am focusing my PhD research on how insects manipulate plant eco-physiology through gall formation. I am focusing on developmental regulating mechanisms by using genomic and proteomic tools to examine how these mechanisms interact or change with changing environments (e.g., climate change).
Some of my side projects look at 1) signaling cascades within Nicotiana genotypes and their relationship to ROS, insect performance, and physiological costs to photosynthesis associated with defense-signal induction; 2) the mechanisms by which plants selected as biofuel feedstocks deter and tolerate herbivory; 3) spatially resolving guild-specific effects of herbivory on leaf-level processes.
I love to teach and to work with enthusiastic students and peers. As an educator, I have a strong set of core values to which I adhere. If you are looking for a project or something fun to get involved with plants and insects, I have too many ideas to implement on my own and could use some help.