I’m working on finding time to write blog posts more frequently, but as I work on that, I thought I would at least keep this page updated with exciting news as I continue my research!
- I attended the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (EEID) meeting at the University of Glasgow! I presented a poster on our experiment from last year looking at how within-host microbial interactions affect parasite spread through a host population (and selling out 2 Ace Hardware stores of all of their kiddie pools to do it!). Check out the poster here!
- I was selected to give to give the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology talk at the end-of-year UNC Biology Symposium. The title of my talk was “The effect of within-host microbial interactions on disease: from parasite individuals to populations,” and I discussed some of my work looking at how within-host microbial interactions after parasite growth within host individuals and parasite spread through a host population.
- Reggie Bain (co-founder of ComSciCon-Triangle) and I wrote an article that was just published as part of a science communication-themed issue of the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. The article presents ComSciCon-Triangle, a science communication workshop for graduate students, as a model for similar regional science communication workshops. Check it out here!
- I was part of a working group with members of the student section of the Ecological Society of America focused on the challenges facing and opportunities available to young ecologists. Our results are discussed in this paper that just came out in Ecosphere: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.2099/full#footer-article-info
- I was a finalist for the 3MT competition at UNC! It was a fun experience, and congratulations to the winners!
- I started managing the twitter account for Scientists of North Carolina. The project aims to humanize scientists through posts modeled after those of the Humans of New York project. Check it out here!
- I attended the Ecological Society of America (ESA) meeting in Portland, Oregon. I presented a poster on the effects of endophyte symbiosis and pathogen intraspecific variation on the growth of a fungal plant pathogen. I really enjoyed getting to listen to some amazing ecology research going on around the world!
- I attended the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (EEID) meeting at UC Santa Barbara. I presented a poster on the challenges of using dual RNA-seq in non-model host/pathogen systems!
- I got to guest lecture in a summer class, Global Change Biology, on global change and infectious disease. As part of the lessons, the students created their own conceptual models of disease–check them out!
- I passed my qualifying exam. Officially a PhD candidate!
- Congratulations to Anita Simha, the honors thesis student I have been mentoring, for achieving highest honors for her thesis and winning the Robert E. Coker Award for excellence in organismal biology and ecology!
- My review, “Plastic potential: how the phenotypes and adaptations of pathogens are influenced by microbial interactions within plants” was accepted in Current Opinion in Plant Biology!
- I co-chaired the organizing committee for the third annual ComSciCon-Triangle, a science communication workshop for graduate students! We had Jorge Cham, the cartoonist behind PhD Comics, as the keynote, and we had wonderful sessions on science improv and communicating science to skeptical audiences!
- I guest lectured in my advisor, Charles Mitchell’s, Disease Ecology class. I taught two lessons, one on multi-parasite systems and one on multi-host communities. I tried to incorporate active learning techniques like concept mapping to help students understand the papers that they read and the concepts we discussed.
- I gave my first lunch bunch talk to the Biology Department. Lunch Bunch is the name of the department’s lunch seminar series. My talk was called, “Can we use RNA-seq to Investigate Host/Pathogen Interactions?”
- I wrote an article about soils that can protect plants from disease for Ensia, a magazine presenting new perspectives on environmental challenges and solutions to a global audience. Check it out here!
- I participated in a teacher/researcher networking event put on at the Museum of Natural Sciences by SciREN,the Scientific Researcher and Educator Network. Researchers prepare lesson plans related to their research, and at the event, educators can walk around to tables where the researchers are throughout the museum to chat about how the lesson plans might fit in their classroom. I made a lesson plan on epidemics that involves students simulating epidemics in the classroom! Check out the links below if you’re interested in the lesson plan!
- I received an NSF graduate research fellowship!
- I presented my first poster titled “Analyzing Mixed Transcriptomic Samples of Hosts and Pathogens: A Comparison of Reference-based Mapping Methods” at the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease Meeting at Cornell University.
- I attended ComSciCon-National in Cambridge, MA! ComSciCon is a competitive science communication workshop that allows graduate students in the sciences to further develop their communication skills, network with students from around the country, and workshop a written piece with other attendees and an expert. My piece was on soils that have microbes that fend off plant disease! Look out for more about that!
- I served on the organizing committee of ComSciCon-Triangle 2016, a science communication workshop organized by graduate students for graduate students. The workshop was held over two Saturdays, and I think was very successful! Check out my write-ups of the workshop here and here.
- I spoke to a freshman writing seminar on my research and science communication. Really thankful for everything I learned at ComSciCon Triangle 2015!
- I passed my oral exam! In the UNC Biology department, second year graduate students are required to take an oral exam in which their committee members ask them questions on topics related to the student’s interests. I was tested on fungi, disease ecology, population ecology, and population genetics. I was probably a little bit too nervous going into it, but overall, I think it was a good experience!
Stay tuned for more!