I am a Ph. D. Candidate currently studying evolutionary genomics of amphibians in Ben Evans’ lab at McMaster University. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta in April 2012, with a specialization in Animal Biology.

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Ph. D. Dissertation

My research has focussed on two areas of evolutionary genomics:

  1. Sex Chromosome Evolution
  2. Polyploid Genome Evolution

I work with African clawed frogs (Xenopus) as these species possess a variety of sex determining mechanisms and non-homologous sex chromosomes between some species. As well, they vary in ploidy levels from diploid (two copies of every chromosome, like mammals) up to dodecaploid (i.e., 12 copies of each chromosome!). These frogs have been used as medical and scientific models for many years and are an invasive species in some areas, potentially causing great ecological impact.

Genetics and Species

Another interest of mine is to use genetic tools to assess species dynamics. Recently, my colleagues and I studied the phylogeography of the most widespread African clawed frog (X. laevis), providing insight on the overall genetic structure of this species and gene flow between it and its close relatives. We’ve also investigated genetic introgression of the extremely vulnerable X. gilli and sympatric X. laevis populations. For my undergrad thesis, I assessed the impact of urban development on the genetic connectivity of a wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) population. See the publications page for papers relating to these projects.