I am a quantitative disease ecologist interested in epidemic and endemic disease dynamics, amphibian ecology, community and population ecology, and amphibian conservation.
To mimic natural hierarchical systems, I develop hierarchical Bayesian models and I exploit data collected over space and time to separate ecological and observational processes to answer questions.
My PhD research focused on how Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) has affected the amphibian fauna of El Copé, Panama. I developed statistical tools to understand why some species were selected out of populations more readily than others, as well as understanding the role of environmental reservoirs in disease dynamics.
My research program
Host population ecology
Advances in statistical models are revolutionizing our ability to study patterns of epidemic and endemic disease dynamics within and among wild populations.
I use either unmarked count data or capture-mark-recapture data and hierarchical models to characterize demographic and disease dynamics; and to understand what conditions lead to species persistence or extinction.
Currently, my host population ecology research focuses on understanding how within host disease dynamics (such as pathogen growth) affect between host disease dynamics (such as transmission).
Much of this work is in prep
Host community ecology
Species populations do not occur in isolation, and it is likely that their interactions with other species populations affect their disease dynamics.
I conduct lab experiments to characterize species infection intensity profiles and survivorship. With this information, we gain insights to species-specific contributions to transmission and environmental pathogen reservoirs.
I also use empirical data collected before and after a chytrid outbreak to determine what conditions lead to species persistence or extinction.
Quantitative methods in disease ecology
One of the biggest challenges of using empirical data is being able to link pathogen infection and changes in host demography, while accounting for hosts and pathogens routinely missed during surveys.
I create count-based hierarchical model extensions that take advantage of the mass amounts of observation count data regularly collected by disease ecologists, providing a mechanistic framework that accounts for host and pathogen false negatives.
National Science Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow
University of California, Santa Barbara
January 2017- Present
Collaborating with: Dr. Cherie Briggs
Post-doctoral research associate, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
July 2016- Present
Collaborating with: Dr. Elise Zipkin
Ph.D University of Maryland, College Park, MD Sept 2011- May 2016
Program: Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
Community and population level effects of disease on a Neotropical amphibian community
Advisor: Dr. Karen R. Lips
B.S University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT Sept 2007- May 2011
Major: Biological Sciences, Honor’s Program
Honor’s Thesis: The Late Devonian Extinction characterized by Brachiopods from Cameron, NY
Advisor: Dr. Andrew Bush