B.S., Cornell, 2009
As studies document the roles of parasites and climate change in pollinator decline, science is challenged to find solutions that bolster pollinator immunity. Nutritional support may help pollinators resist infection. Plant nectars and pollen include toxic compounds that deter insects and inhibit growth of microbes. Plants may use these compounds to prevent contamination, oxidative stress, or undesired consumption of their gametes. Although pollinators generally avoid toxins, their consumption may be beneficial when pollinators are parasitized. I study how different dosages and mixtures of floral metabolites influence bumblebee resistance to their trypanosome parasite Crithidia bombi.
I spent 2009-2011 at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany. Working with Meredith Schuman, Jonathan Gershenzon, and Ian Baldwin, I tested the role of sesquiterpenes in plant resistance to oxidative stresses. I also explored the contribution of plant volatiles to local formation of aerosols. Our transgenic lines suffered a lot, but we hope to immortalize them with a high-impact publication sometime soon.
I graduated from Cornell University in 2009 in Biology with a Neurobiology and Behavior concentration. I conducted an independent study project with Paul Sherman on the antimicrobial properties of the fermented milk kefir. In 2009 I had a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES, Millbrook, NY, ) studying nitrate reduction in sediments of Onondaga Lake (Syracuse, NY).