My current research focuses on chemically-mediated coevolutionary relationships, specifically the relationships between toxins and toxin resistance among herpetofauna. As well as trying to understand any physiological tradeoffs to maintaining and/or producing toxins and toxin resistant components.
Current research is focused on the relationships between rattlesnakes, Crotalus ruber and C. oreganus helleri and their common mammal prey, Otospermophilius beechyi and Neotoma lepida.There are numerous anti-predator adaptation that small mammals show, however, the main focus of this current research is on the relationship between venom and mammalian venom resistance.
Toxin and Toxin Resistance
Some small mammal prey of rattlesnakes have evolved venom resistance, allowing them to survive rattlesnake envenomation events that would otherwise rapidly subdue non-resistant prey. These mechanisms of resistance are through an innate expression of proteins called snake venom metalloproteinases inhibitors. These inhibitors irreversibly bind to snake venom metalloproteinases, the first line of attack in venom, reducing the spread of other toxins throughout the prey body.
2019 - Current
University of Nevada - Reno
PhD - Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology
2016 - 2020
San Diego State University
Master of Science-Biology
concentration in Ecology
2011 - 2015
University of Iowa - Iowa City
Bachelor of Science - Environmental Science
concentration in Biology
Population of small mammals that have been rattlesnake free for generations have been shown to lose their venom resistance when rattlesnakes are no longer present. Indicating that there is some potential tradeoff in the mammal in order to express inhibitor proteins. Previous work has suggested that mammals in poor body condition may be more resistant to venom. Therefore, we are currently exploring the relationship between venom inhibitors and the body condition of mammals.