Biologist and Educator
I am an Assistant Professor at North Central College, a small liberal arts school outside of Chicago. My research interests are in the roles of symbiotic fungal networks on plant interactions and community structuring. I am also interested in the science of pedagogy, specifically active-learning strategies like research-based courses for incoming undergraduate students.
National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Grant awarded for work with Native American students on the roles of common mycorrhizal networks of invasive species on mycorrhizal communities
Joining North Central College (Naperville, IL) Faculty in Fall 2017!
Miami-Dade High School students publish a paper on their work in DNA primers
NSF grant featured at University of Miami
My research and recently won National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant was recently featured in the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences news website.
See it here: http://www.as.miami.edu/news/news-archive/um-biology-phd-student-receives-dissertation-support-grant-from-national-science-foundation.html
NSF- DDIG project underway at Richmond Heights Middle!
Since acquiring the grant in June, the majority of the Fall 2014 semester has been spent preparing, gathering materials and setting up my DDIG experiment. I have enlisted the help of students from an Agri-science program at Richmond Heights Middle School, a title-1 school at which I worked as an NSF GK-12 fellow.
Students first learned about the role of mycorrhizas in plant nutrition by performing their own experiments on corn and broccoli. By growing plants with and without mycorrhizal fungi, they learned that the mycorrhiza relationship can be different for different plant species. They also learned about variables, hypotheses, measurements, and data. I also taught students how to take their recorded data and plot it in Microsoft Excel to illustrate the trends we were seeing in their treatments.
Following our first experiment, students then began helping me in the making of 1800 specialized cone-tainers and the set-up of 18 microcosms. These cone-tainers allow mycorrhizal fungi hyphae (filaments) to grow from the plant root system out of the cone-tainer to neighboring cone-tainers, thereby connecting plants in a microcosm through common mycorrhizal networks. Microcosms were completely set-up and seeded on December 8th, 2014 and they will remain in pre-treatment for two months.