Areas of Expertise:
Social insects, phylogenetic analysis, gene family evolution, chemosensation
Paper wasps (genus Polistes), gall-forming aphids (genus Pemphigus)
I am interested in major evolutionary transitions in individuality, such as the evolution of eusociality. As a graduate student, I study the primitively eusocial wasp genus Polistes, and I aim to describe the neurobiological and genomic mechanisms of chemosensation and their relevance to communication. By using a functional genetic approach in multiple paper wasp species, I hope to alter the production and perception of chemical signals in order to shed light on the function of chemical communication in social recognition, mating, and development.