Research

Plasmodium mexicanumMy general research focus is on the ecology and evolutionary biology of parasites and their hosts.I currently work on two different study systems: a malaria parasite that infects lizards in California and trematode parasites that infect snails (and many other animals!) in Vermont.  Click on the links above to learn more about my current research projects in each of these areas.

Before coming to Norwich, I completed my PhD at the University of Vermont.  My graduate research focused specifically on the application of sex ratio theory to malaria parasites.  Sex ratio theory is an evolutionary theory that aims to explain how natural selection shapes ratios of males to females in populations.  The parasites that cause malaria in humans and their relatives (such as Plasmodium mexicanum, which infects lizards) have both male and female forms, and females often greatly outnumber males in natural infections.  A potential explanation for this strong deviation from the 50:50 sex ratios we are used to seeing in humans appears to be found in sex ratio theory and relates to the high degree of relatedness among individual parasites sharing a host.  Check out these videos I made explaining the life cycle of a malaria parasite and some basic ideas in sex ratio theory.

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