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Ph.D. Biology, City University of New York (2013)
B.S. Music Education, New York University (2002)
I use molecular and computational methods to understand the history of life and genomic mechanisms of evolution. I earned my Ph.D. collecting anole lizards across the southeastern United States, PCR/cloning in the lab, and applying population genetic and genomic approaches to study phylogeography and retrotransposon evolution in the lizard (Anolis carolinensis) genome. I led the sequencing, assembly and annotation, and comparative genomic analyses for multiple reptile genome efforts. including three new anole lizard genomes (A. apletophallus, A. auratus, and A. frenatus) to study molecular mechanisms of an adaptive radiation, and the genome of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Goperhus agassizii), which led to the description of a new species (Gopherus evegoodei). Through collaborations on other consortium projects such as the living fossil tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus), garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), and rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), I am a major contributor to the growing field of reptilian comparative genomics.
Currently, I am leading the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) genome project to study the evolution of large body size and longevity across mammals and how it relates to cancer suppression. This project is extremely interdisciplinary and collaborative and includes work with Universities of Groningen, Leeds, Zurich, Utah, Southern Califorina, Stanford University, aand the Institute of Cancer Research. We are leveraging the tree of life to develop novel theoretical approaches and evolutionary models that can better predict cancer.