• Research Expertise

Population Genetics, Genomics, Ecological Epigenetics, Conservation Genetics, Ancient DNA

  • Future Research Directions
  • Adaptation of genomic and epigenetic analysis tools for improved study of ancient DNA and non-invasively collected samples
  • Genomics and epigenomics of species of conservation concern
  • Genomics and epigenomics of wildlife disease
  • Academic Qualifications
  • PhD 2016

    Genetics

    University of Arizona

Dissertation Title: Conservation genetics and epigenetics of pronghorn, Antilocapra americana

Dissertation Aims:

  • Estimate epigenetic variation in Sonoran pronghorn subspecies relative to American subspecies
  • Characterize genetic variation within and between pronghorn subspecies
  • Define taxonomy of extirpated populations of pronghorn in California and Baja, Mexico

Supervisor: Dr. Melanie Culver

Committee Members: Dr. Rebecca Mosher (UA), Dr. David Christianson (UA), Dr. Christina Richards (U. South Florida)

  • Graduate Certificate Fall 2015

    College Teaching

    University of Arizona

  • B.S. 2008

    Biology

    University of New Mexico

Honors Thesis Title: Direct interactions between pre-mRNA and the DEAD-box Prp5 protein in the commitment complex of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae spliceosome

Honors Thesis Committee: Dr. Stephanie Ruby (supervisor), Dr. Mary Anne Nelson

  • Research Experience
  • 2017-present
    Postdoctoral Fellowship | The Australian National University
    Research School of Biology, Division of Biomedical Science and Biochemistry
    My work in the Adamska lab aims to investigate conservation of function of the Wnt signalling pathway in the sponge Sycon capricorn. To establish S. capricorn as an evolutionary development model species, I have used a hybrid genome assembly approach incorporating massive short-read sequencing with cutting edge MinION long read sequencing. I am also modifying standard immunoassays to investigate the interaction between the Wnt pathway mediator, β-catenin, and transcription factor, Tcf.
  • 2011-2016
    Dissertation Work | University of Arizona
    Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program
    My work in the Culver lab focused on population genetics and ecological epigenetics of two species, the endangered Sonoran pronghorn and the threatened crested caracara. I employed microsatellite genotyping, mitochondrial sequencing, and MS-AFLP epigenotyping in these pursuits.
  • 2011
    Research Rotation| University of Arizona
    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    I rotated in the lab of Dr. Noah Whiteman. The Whiteman lab studies the genomics of species interactions. I performed hiTAIL PCR to sequence the allene oxide synthase gene in Cardamine cordifolia and 3’5’ RACE PCR to sequence the glutathione S-transferase transcript in Scaptomyza flava.
  • 2010
    Research Rotation| University of Arizona
    Department of Immunology
    I rotated in the lab of Dr. Maggie So. The So lab studies the evolution of pathogenesis in the bacterial genus Neisseria. I explored the genomes of two pathogenic species, N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae, to find DNA uptake sequences (DUSs). I then calculated the relative prevalence of DUSs within newly acquired genes.
  • 2009-2011
    Research Technician | University of Arizona
    Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
    I worked in the lab of Dr. Matthew Cordes. The Cordes lab studies the evolution of protein structure. My major project dealt with verifying a putative “evolutionary code” behind direct interactions between nucleotides and amino acids. I adapted a bacterial one-hybrid system for determining Cro protein substrate specificity.
  • 2009
    Research Technician| University of New Mexico
    Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
    I continued work related to my honors thesis in the Ruby lab. I developed a purification scheme of non-denatured His-tagged Prp5p.
  • 2006-2008
    Undergraduate Researcher | University of New Mexico
    Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
    I conducted research for my honors thesis in the lab of the late Dr. Stephanie Ruby. The Ruby lab studied pre-mRNA splicing in yeast. I studied the role of Prp5p in pre-mRNA splicing. I developed an in vitro UV cross-linking assay for detection of direct binding of Prp5p and radiolabeled pre-mRNA in yeast whole cell extract.
  • Scholarships & Awards
  • 2011-2014
    NSF IGERT in Comparative Genomics
    The prestigious Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) is a National Science Foundation funded program providing a $30,000 stipend and training in functional, computational, and evolutionary genomics. I received three one-year fellowships.
  • 2013 & 2014
    Summer Institute for Statistical Genetics Travel Award
    In the years of 2013 & 2014 combined, I was awarded funds ($2275) to cover attendance of 4 modules and travel assistance.
  • 2008
    University of New Mexico S-CAP Travel Grant
    The Student Conference Award Program (S-CAP) is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students to help cover travel costs associated with research presentation. I received $600 for travel to the 2008 RNA Society Meeting.
  • 2008
    Honorable Mention for presentation of a poster at UNM Biology Research Day
  • 2007 & 2008
    NSF S-STEM Scholarship
    S-STEM is awarded to exceptional undergraduate students in STEM disciplines. The award provides $5000 towards tuition per academic year. S-STEM also provides career development opportunities in the form of workshops and career fairs. I received two S-STEM awards.
  • 2007
    National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant
    The SMART grant is awarded to third and fourth year undergraduate students in STEM disciplines with GPAs above 3.0. I received $2000.
  • Teaching & Mentoring

  • 2017-2018
    Honours Student Co-supervisor
    I have co-supervised two honours students thus far during my postdoc. I have also served on an Honours student committee for another student.
  • 2017-2018
    HDR Mentoring Program
    I have participated in the Research School of Biology’s HDR Mentoring Program for the last two years. As a postdoc, I regularly meet with a PhD student who has selected me as a mentor.
  • 2018
    ANU Espresso Course
    To continually improve my teaching approach and philosophy, I have participated in online courses hosted by the ANU’s Espresso course program. I engage in discussion and reflection on topics including group learning and interactive learning.
  • 2018
    Guest Lecturer - Linguistic History in Asia and the Pacific
    I delivered a lecture on basic population genetics aimed at non-biologists
  • Fall 2015
    College Teaching Practicum
    I have completed a graduate certificate in college teaching. The program prepares academics for teaching careers focusing the learner-centered teaching philosophy.
  • Fall 2015
    Guest Lecturer – Conservation Genetics; University of Arizona
    I prepared lessons for four class periods covering natural selection, mutation, migration, drift, and neutral theory. The course is cross-listed for undergraduate and graduate students. I re-engineered the content to implement learner-centered teaching methods.
  • Fall 2015
    Teaching Assistant – Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona
    I was the teaching assistant for Dr. Lisa Elfring. My duties included facilitating group discussions, holding tutoring sessions, and grading.
  • Fall 2014
    Teaching Assistant – Introductory Biology Lab, University of Arizona
    I was the sole lecturer for two introductory biology laboratory sections. I was also tasked with grading for this course.
  • Fall 2014
    Guest Lecturer – Conservation Genetics; University of Arizona
    I presented a lecture on forensic genetic applications in conservation.
  • 2013-2014
    Mentor to Tucson High School Students
    I have guided several high school students through their senior research projects. They have learned genetic lab techniques and conservation theory.
  • Spring 2014
    Guest Lecturer – Conservation Biology; University of Arizona
    I presented a lecture on the applications of genetics in wildlife conservation to an undergraduate course.
  • Fall 2015
    Guest Lecturer – Wildlife Management, University of Arizona
    I presented two lectures on the application of genetics in wildlife management and led students through laboratory exercises in this undergraduate course.
  • 2012-2015
    Graduate Student Guide for Visiting Middle School Students
    I have hosted several small groups of 8th graders interested in genetics. I discussed my project, took them on a tour of the lab, and engaged them in a small molecular genetics procedure, such as extracting DNA or setting up PCR reactions.
  • Summer 2010
    Arizona Science Teacher Advancement and Research Training (AZ-START)
    I mentored a Tucson middle school science teacher as part of the AZ-START program. Over 8 weeks, I taught her to perform typical biochemical assays and procedures, discussed ways to incorporate the scientific method into her curriculum, and assisted her in putting together a poster presentation.
  • Software and Programming Experience

I have experience programming in Perl, Python, and R.  I am proficient in operating UNIX systems and have experience utilizing super computing systems. I have utilized a wide variety of genome assembly, population genetic, RNA-Seq, and Chip-Seq algorithms and software packages in my research, including PAML, msatcommander, Structure, GeneLand, QDD, ClustDB, Bowtie2, BWA, HISAT, SamTools, Cufflinks, BEAST, GenAlEx, Velvet, SOAPdeNovo, CANU, miniasm/minimap, RACON, BUSCO, and MACS2.

  • Academic Associations
  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
    2018 – present
    Research Associate
  • Genetics Society of AustralAsia
    2018 – present
    Member
  • Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology
    2017 – present
    ACT Representative
  • Tucson Women in STEM (TWiSTEM)
    2013 – present
    Board member – January through May 2013

  • Workshops Attended
  • MinION Long-Read Sequencing Workshop
    2017
    The Australian National University; Acton, ACT Australia
  • Winter School in Mathematical and Computational Biology
    2017
    University of Queensland; Brisbane, QLD Australia
  • Women in Computer Science Programming Workshop
    April 2015
    University of Arizona; Tucson, AZ
    Modules: Python, C
  •  19th Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics
    July 2014
    University of Washington; Seattle, WA
    Module: Probability and Statistical Inference
  • 18th Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics
    July 2013
    University of Washington; Seattle, WA
    Modules: Population Genetics and Association Mapping, Bayesian Statistics for Genetics, and Introduction to R
  • Fieldwork Safety Workshop
    2010
    University of Arizona; Tucson, AZ
  • Service
  • ACT State Representative & Regional Conference Planning Committee
    2017 – present
    Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Early- and Mid- Career Researcher Conference Planning Committee Member
    2017 – present
    Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
  • Selection Committee Member
    2017
    John Curtin School of Medical Research; The Australian National University
  • HDR Conference Chair
    2017
    Research School of Biology, The Australian National University
  • Graduate Student Guide for Visiting Middle School Students
    2012-2015
    University of Arizona