Influenced by climate change and increasing population growth, water availability will be one of the biggest challenges science and society will face in the coming decades. As such, my research focuses around the genetic and genomic mechanisms governing abiotic stress resistance. I am primarily interested in identifying genes involved with drought resistance in the herbaceous annual crop species, Helianthus annuus L. or cultivated sunflower. I am also interested in understanding the overlap of genetic mechanisms across abiotic stresses in the genus Helianthus, and the evolutionary pressures that contribute to this. Primarily my work revolves around genomic studies including Genome-Wide Association Studies and high-throughput mRNA-sequencing. Additionally, I have a strong commitment to science communication, and am a Co-founder of the Athens Science Café Organization for Athens, GA – an organization geared at facilitating scientific literacy and dialogue by bringing researchers and the public together for monthly events.
Areas of Research:
Genomics and Bioinformatics, Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Genetics