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My research involves a collaboration with an excellent fisheries biologist from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. We study the thermal tolerance of various cutthroat trout populations and subspecies, including the endangered greenback cutthroat, which is Colorado’s state fish.
The methods I use for studying the molecular basis of the heat shock response include RT-qPCR and RNA-seq, which is a type of “massively parallel sequencing”. The analysis of the huge datasets that RNA-seq generates is bioinformatics-intensive. I study both differential gene expression and sequence differences between groups, especially those that are involved in stress pathways and those that affect growth, but also look at whatever else turns up, revealing some fascinating differences among these beautiful fish.
I was the first member of my family to go to college. I initially chose biology because I love the mountains, and I thought I might be able to work in them. I earned a B.S. in Biology from Fort Lewis College (in the mountains), an M.S. in Biology from Central Washington University (my master’s thesis involved spending a lot of time in the mountains studying the population genetics of water voles), and my Ph.D. was earned at the University of Denver, where my research involved molecular details of amphibian metamorphosis (lab work, no mountains).
I did postdoctoral research at University of Colorado Denver studying cellular signaling pathways utilized in oocyte maturation and fertilization. I found an academic home when I started at MSU Denver, which I continue to enjoy very much.
I’m also a history buff who used to teach History of Science.