I am a population geneticist, so I use the tools of genetics to address questions in evolutionary biology. My research examines genetic variation in natural populations of animals. My current project examines variation in an immune system gene in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). We amplify our gene of interest with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We look for alternate forms of the gene (alleles) by running our PCR reactions on gels using the single-stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) technique. SSCP gives us a way to “see” alleles that differ by as little as one base. When we find a new allele, we clone it and sequence it.
Previous student project: Molecular Analysis of Coyotes in Maine: Evidence for Hybridization with Wolves?
Favorite organism: Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly.
Ph.D., University of California at Santa Cruz
M.A., University of Northern Iowa
B.A., Cornell College