While we can garner considerable information studying species in isolation, we need to examine species as a community to better understand host-pathogen systems. Using methods from population genomics and landscape ecology my lab is investigating the mountain pine beetle and western-gall rust systems to better understand what genetic factors contribute to pathogenicity and host-pine susceptibility.
Genomics of disease
With increasing habitat fragmentation, climate change, and global transport, there has been an emergence of infectious disease in wildlife populations. Currently I am working on developing a better understanding of genetic-risk factors associated with chronic wasting disease. Chronic wasting disease is a fatal, neurodegenerative disease that affects cervid species (e.g. mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, caribou).
Some of my work involves collaboration with the Calgary Zoo using conservation genetics to understand the long-term viability of endangered and at-risk prairie species (swift foxes, and black tailed prairie dogs). Through a better understanding of genetic diversity, relatedness, and connectivity, we can make management recommendations to ensure healthy populations.
University of Alberta
Hybridization & introgression
Identifying adaptive variation
Ph.D. Watershed Ecosystems
1995 - 1999
University of Guelph
Hons B.Sc. Molecular Biology & Genetics