January 2015- January 2016: Alternative energy sources derived from fungi proejct “Filamentous fungi for biodiesel production using lignocellulosic residuals” Department of Energy SEED Grant
January 2014 – January 2015: Department of Energy Populus microbiome project, Plant Microbe Interfaces
January 2011 – May 2012: Ectomycorrhizal fungi in Guyana project, NSF DEB0918591
External Course Work & Internships
July 2014 – Proteomics Course, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Intensive laboratory and lecture course covering the following skills; purifying and identifying protein complexes and post-translational modifications, differential in-gel electrophoresis (DIGE), quantifying differentially expressed using advanced gel analysis software and MALDI mass spectrometry, shotgun proteomics, label-free and covalent isotopic-labeling quantitative proteomics. Training was provided in microcapillary liquid chromatography coupled with nanospray-ESI, tandem mass spectrometry, and development of SRM/MRM based targeted proteins. A heavy emphasis was placed on analyzing and interpreting proteomics data using a wide variety of cutting edge software.
March 2014, May 2014, August 2015 – Internships in the Plant Systems Biology group of the Environmental Sciences Division at Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Multiple projects including metabolomic & proteomic approaches to study fungal-bacterial interactions, designing & using microfluidic interactions, and microscopy to visualize interaction phenotypes. Funded by GO Fellowship & CNMS grants described in funding section.
June 2013 – Advanced Bacterial Genetics Course, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Extensive Laboratory work based training in the following methods: classical mutagenesis using transposons, mutator strains, and chemical mutagens; recombineering with single and double stranded DNA; detection of gene expression changes using various reporter genes; the mapping of mutations using genetic and physical techniques; modern approaches to the generation and analysis of targeted gene disruptions and fusions using PCR and cloning methods; epitope insertion mutagenesis; site-directed mutagenesis; and fluorescence microscopy.
Rotation Projects at Duke
January 2013 – March 2013: Rotation project Heitman lab, Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, Duke University: This project involved studying fungal-fungal interspecies signaling via the G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GPCR) CPR2. CPR2 stands for Cryptococcus Pheromone Receptor 2, and shares high sequence homology with GPCRs involved in pheromone detection during the fungal mating process such as Ste3a/α. I utilized knockout strains with varying combinations of mutated and deleted genes related to pheromone production and sensation to test whether CPR2 is involved in inter-species/genus fungal signaling.
September 2012 – December 2012: Rotation project Wernegreen lab, Institute for Genomic Sciences and Policy, Duke University: This project was focused on insect- bacterial endosymbiont interactions. I assembled and annotated mitochondrial genomes from mixed insect nuclear, mitochondrial, and endosymbiont genomic DNA sequencing projects. I then extracted insect mitochondrial protein coding genes pylogenomic analyses in ant genus Camponotus and other members of the Camponotini. I was also focused on detecting novel insect bacterial endosymbionts during the mixed DNA genome assembly project.
July 2012 – September 2012: Rotation project Vilgalys lab, Biology Department, Duke University: This project was centered on plant-fungal symbioses, and aimed to assessed the effects of physical isolation and plant host identity on Ectomyccorhizal (ECM) community diversity. I was studying tropical ECM fungal ecology study by sequencing of a molecular barcode region (ITS) from mixed ECM root & soil samples using the Illumina amplicon approach and bioinformatic pipeline.
September 2011 – Friends of the Farlow visiting fellow: For this project I was combining the use of rare/ancient literature and fungal collections in the Farlow Fungal Herbarium at Harvard University. I was funding and examining species of Clavulina and updating annotations for misidentifications of fungal species from around the world.
Field Work Experience
Summers 2012-2016: Collecting and processing ECM pine root tip data, New Haven CT, Blacksburg VA, Lufkin TX, Durham NC, Riggins ID, USA
May 2012: Research and collecting expedition over Mt. Ayanganna, Guyana
May 2011: Research and collecting expedition Mabura, Guyana
January 2011: Research and collecting expedition Pagaima Savanah, Guyana
May 2010: Research and collecting expedition Potaro River Basin, Guyana
July 2009: Field Biology course at the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (ITEC) Bocas del Toro, Panama