My research interests include parasitic platyhelminth taxonomy, phylogenetics, biogeography and evolution. Parasitology is a highly integrative discipline, therefore my research program combines fieldwork (local, national and global), work with museum collections, several different types of microscopy, and molecular genomics to explore flatworm diversity and evolution.
Using next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, my research uses metagenomics to examine community structure and diversity of a complex assemblage of macroparasites (parasitic worms or helminths) and microbes (bacteria and viruses) within small mammals. I am completing a current pilot study in the Pecos mountains of NM, where my lab in collaboration with Joe Cook (University of New Mexico) is looking at seasonal variation of the intestinal microbiome and helminth community within small insectivorous mammals.
My lab in collaboration with Eric Hoberg (USDA), Joe Cook (UNM), Kayce Bell (NMNH), Vasyl Tkach (UND) and Julie Allen (U of I) is working on sequencing the genomes of 46 helminths using an Illumina HiSeq sequencing platform.
Using taxonomy, classical genetics and next generation sequencing technologies I am examining the systematics, co-evolution, and phylogeography of North American shrews and their parasites. I am working in close collaboration with Dr. Vasyl Tkach (University of North Dakota), Dr. Andrew Hope (Kansas State University), Dr. Eric Hoberg (USDA) and Dr. Joseph Cook (University of New Mexico).
I am examining the diversity and transmission biology of Neorickettsia within their digenean hosts. This work is in close collaboration with Dr. Vasyl Tkach and Dr. Jefferson Vaughan (University of North Dakota).
My lab in collaboration with Dr. John Carrol and Dr. Scott Harrison (GSU) are examining the distribution, presence and intensity of Oyster Parasites and Pathogens in Southern GA. My role in the project is to screen and quantify ouster samples for parasites and bacterial pathogens using molecular approaches (i.e. TaqMan probe based real-time PCR).