I am interested in basic and interdisciplinary research in molecular biology, microbial ecology, and bioinformatics.
My research studies depend on high throughput devices such as DNA microarrays and next-generation sequencing instruments. To improve their accuracy and precision, my team developed calibrated DNA microarrays (Gene Meters) and we are currently trying to calibrate next-generation instruments in the same way. Output from these instruments can then be used to model biological systems and understand how they work.
Research has a way of dragging you down different paths from where you started -- whether you like it or not. One path I traveled was fixing the “noise” problem in DNA microarray output. My team produced a large body of research on the physicochemistry of DNA microarrays and with this newfound knowledge, developed a way to quantify genes and transcripts in biological samples. Another path was human oral microbiome research in patients with periodontitis and caries. Our focus was finding a way to return an unhealthy microbiome to a healthy one. A third path was investigating how vertebrates respond to stress in terms of their genetic regulatory networks. Microorganisms exploit stressful situations in vertebrates and therefore understanding how vertebrates respond to stress will shed light on how microbial populations interact with them in both health and disease. Lastly, a fortuitous outcome of my travels is the discovery that I have a talent for C++ programming, statistics (e.g., Machine Learning) and scientific writing. I use these tools to investigate challenging problems and provide solutions.
Education And Training
Doctor of Philosophy Level Degree