BA in Biotechnology with minor degrees in Biochemistry and Microbiology from North Dakota State University.
The focus of our lab is the use of Landscape Genomics to determine how changes in environmental factors lead to ecotype divergence among sympatric microbial populations. Of particular interest is the mechanism by which new ecotypes arise. Several models have been proposed for sympatric ecotype divergence and they differ by the relative importance they attribute to the core and accessory genomes. The core genome is the collection of genes that are present in all members of a species whereas the accessory genome includes genes that are present at variable frequencies and are not constant among all members. The core genome has the potential to drive divergence through point mutations and subsequent clonal expansion while the accessory genome can lead to divergence through HGT, infection by phage, and transposable elements. Through the use of Landscape Genomics, we hope to gain a better understanding of how the core and accessory genomes interact, and therefore, how new ecotypes arise within a microbial population.