I got a Bachelors of Science in Biology from Emory University in 2013. Afterwards worked as a Lab tech at Emory University in the Gerardo Lab. There I researched how the absence of a microbial symbionts, Burkholderia, affect the survival and reproduction of squash bugs and how different strains of Burkholderia deferentially impact the squash bug life history.
Now, as a PhD candidate, I’m interested in restoration of ecological function of soils and soil microbes in environments that have been devastated by human activity. I work in mined lands where the original soil surface has been stripped out and replaced with a subsoil composed of mine spoils. Soils produced by these spoils typically perform few ecological services due to deficiencies of organic matter, productive vegetation cover, water holding capacity, porosity, nutrient cycling, and microbial activity. Since microbes play direct of indirect roles in most of these soil ecological services, I focus on how microbial communities and their functions can be restored in mined land. Methods that I’m testing include management practices with different amendments, cover crops, and inoculums.