ABOUT ME

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. 

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Predator-Prey Interactions

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.

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EDUCATION

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

Physiological Trade-offs

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.