I’m a postdoctoral scholar working with Peter Balint-Kurti at North Carolina State University. I completed my PhD in the Population Biology Graduate Group at UC Davis where I worked with Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra.

I study genotype by environment (GxE) interactions in plants. Genetic variation can cause individuals of the same species to respond in different ways to environmental conditions. These interaction effects are important both for the evolution and ecology of wild species as well as the breeding of crop species. I am interested in questions such as: What is the genetic basis of GxE interactions? What mechanisms cause GxE at the phenotypic level? How do interactions within populations and communities change GxE? And how can an understanding of GxE be used for agricultural benefit? To answer these questions I use a combination of experimental studies in the lab and field along with quantitative and population genetics.

I am currently working on understanding interactions between maize and its associated microbes. The majority of the maize that is grown in the United States is hybrid maize, meaning that it is produced by crossing two inbred maize lines. While it has long been known that hybrid maize is higher yielding than inbred or open pollinated maize, the mechanisms that cause this are still unclear. Previous work in the Balint-Kurti lab showed that when soil microbes are absent from the environment inbred maize can grow as much biomass as hybrid maize. I am studying the genetic basis of this effect and differences in the immune response of inbred and hybrid maize.