My postdoctoral work at MIT focuses on combining experiments in synthetic ecological microcosms with mathematical modeling to study fundamental questions in theoretical ecology and evolutionary systems biology. A major focus of the group is the evolutionary and ecological dynamics of cooperatively growing populations, in particular studies of catastrophic collapse and the possibility of “cheating” behaviors. My work will expand the purview of this research into the ecology of host-associated communities using C. elegans as a model organism.
My long-term academic interests are in the function and composition of populations in natural environments and the possibilities for external control of these populations. In particular, I am currently interested in the establishment, maintenance, and stress-induced dynamics of host-associated populations and the effects of environmental variation and spatial structure on community function. Further, over the course of my graduate work, I have gained an interest in genomics and evolution, particularly in the context of host-associated communities and other communities subject to strong environmental feedback.