I'm interested in evolution and ecology. Previous projects I've worked on have included using fossils to better understand an ancient environment, and investigating how a candidate gene impacts moth pheromone biosynthesis between two recently diverged species.
For my thesis research, I'm working to better understand the spread of a particular selfish element. This unique selfish element exists in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, where Maternal-Effect Dominant Embryonic Arrest (Medea) factors trigger lethality in offspring lacking a copy of the Medea allele. I'm investigating the population genetics of the Medea element in population cage laboratory experiments, as well as the geographic distribution and frequencies of the two distinct Medea elements which are present in the United States. The results will not only offer insight into the interesting biology of selfish elements, but also have practical applications, as empirical data will be useful for corroborating or altering genetic pest management models.