Welcome! I am a fungal evolutionary biologist and microbial ecologist fascinated with the intimate history and future significance of symbiotic relationships between plant hosts and their microbial communities. My goal is to use integrative techniques to explore these interactions in the natural world and learn how we can apply these partnerships to promote conservation and resilience through climate change.
I received my master's in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the Desjardin lab at San Francisco State University studying the evolution of wood decaying mushrooms (Marasmius) from Madagascar. For more about Madagascar, check out my blog, ShayShrooms.
I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Sexton and Frank labs in the Quantitative and Systems Biology Program at the University of California, Merced. This interdisciplinary team has set out to uncover the mystery behind the Monkeyflower microbiome and discover whether these microbes influence their plant hosts across its range.
I also serve as the Associate Director for the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning in the Teaching Commons at UC Merced, where I utilize my experience in pedagogy and biology to help instructors create the best STEM courses available to our students.