I was raised in the middle of a desert, in Las Vegas, and departed to pursue my career as an oceanographer at Hawaii Pacific University. I quickly became fascinated with marine viruses and their effects on other microbes that dominate the oceans and joined David Karl’s lab at the University of Hawaii as an undergraduate researcher. Participating in my first Hawaii Ocean Time-series research cruise got me hooked on field research and set my course for studying viruses in aquatic environments around the globe. After graduating from Hawaii Pacific University with a BS in Marine Science, I earned my MS in Oceanography in David Karl’s lab at the University of Hawaii, studying viruses and dissolved DNA at Station ALOHA in the Pacific Ocean. I then moved all the way down the hall of our building to earn my PhD in Oceanography in Grieg Steward’s lab at UH, studying aquatic viral ecology and developing new ways to investigate marine viruses. After 12 years of studying, research, windsurfing, and rock climbing in Hawaii, I then moved back to the desert to be a postdoc in Matthew Sullivan’s lab at the University of Arizona, and again moved with his lab to Ohio State University. My postdoc research focused on applying new, transformative methods to study viral ecology and the effects of viruses throughout the world’s oceans, including research at Palmer Station in Antarctica and global-scale studies through the massive, impressive undertaking that is Tara Oceans. My current research focus at Louisiana State University is on investigating any aspect of marine viral ecology that helps us to understand how marine viruses affect our world (see our Research page for more)… and to have tons of fun doing it, of course.
I was born in the Midwest, but moved to Northern Virginia when I was 10. I completed my BS in Biology (conc. Microbiology) and BA in Modern Foreign Languages (conc. Spanish) at James Madison University in Virginia in 2018. My undergraduate thesis work was with Dr. James B. Herrick studying environmental Salmonella in the Shenandoah Valley, and developing a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) model laboratory course which has since been incorporated into the Microbiology concentration curriculum. I am passionate about environmental microbiology and microbial ecology, especially in terms of the large-scale impacts of microbes on the biosphere. Off duty I enjoy yoga, reggaetón, and hiking.