Ph.D., University of Delaware
Physiology of Protozoan Parasites
In my research, I employ biochemical, molecular, and cellular approaches to explore physiology of trypanosomatid parasites (Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi) using Crithidia fasciculata, a trypanosomatid parasite of mosquitoes, as a non-pathogenic model species. My research interests focus on the function of uncharacterized proteins of trypanosomatid mitochondria. Algorithms for prediction of organellar localization have been designed for other systems (e.g., plants and mammalian cells) but are inaccurate for these parasite groups. Thus, confirming predictions is a first step toward biochemical characterization.
My efforts blend instructional and research goals via course-based, undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). While CUREs share many characteristics with inquiry-based labs, they are distinct in that undergraduates are active participants in generating knowledge of interest to the broader scientific community (Auchincloss
2014). Teams of up to 18 students in my Molecular Parasitology CURE (BIOL 4905) collaborate with me in fall and spring semesters, picking up career-relevant skills and adding to our growing set of cell lines.