I am a biologist that likes wildlife and big data. So far I have had the pleasure of participating in research on parasite ecology, infectious disease, and primate natural history. Currently, I am a post-doctoral research associate at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine straddling two laboratories, that of Dr. Jennifer Philips and Dr. Dave Wang. As a member of the Philips Lab, I study transcriptional changes in immune cells (macrophages and T cells) that have been exposed to various strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). By studying how Mtb hijacks the host immune response to benefit its own growth and survival, we hope to discover novel therapeutic targets to combat the disease, which at present infects a quarter of the world’s population. As a member of the Wang Lab, I research wildlife pathogen diversity. I am also a Director and Senior Researcher of Field Projects International (FPI). FPI is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the study and conservation of tropical ecosystems through hands-on training in field research and innovation in conservation technology.
Parasites and pathogens are implicated in regulating predator-prey population cycles, nutrient cycling, animal reproduction, speciation, social behavior and much more. It is hypothesized that parasite and pathogen diversity is correlated with community-wide health. Accordingly, in disturbed, fragmented, or unnatural habitats, we would expect less parasite and pathogen diversity and overall reductions in animal health and population stability. If you are interested in learning more, or even joining this research effort for a period of time, please get in touch with me directly or through Field Projects International.