I'm a microbiologist by training and am fascinated by bacteria. Currently, my primary area of research is how bacteria can be useful in forensic science. Working with numerous collaborators, we have begun investigating the bacteria associated with stages of human decomposition to determine if these microorganisms can be useful in determining the post-mortem interval.
Historically, my research has focused on understanding the distribution of enteric pathogens (mainly E. coli and Salmonella) and their virulence and antimicrobial resistance factors. I am primarily interested in plasmid mediated antimicrobial resistance and virulence of these bacteria. Areas of interest include characterization of resistance phenotypes and genotypes in Salmonella isolates from human and animal sources, sequencing large plasmids to study their evolution, and determining the prevalence and distribution of these plasmids among Salmonella.
Just as my advisor exposed me to research and started me on my career, I feel it is my job to train the next generation of biologists and believe the best way to learn about biology is to actually do biology. I integrate undergraduate and graduate students into all aspects of my research projects, from data collection to publication. Students typically attend national meetings, give oral and poster presentations, author publications in peer-reviewed journals, co-author book chapters, and participate in local and branch societies. I am always very proud of all my students when the graduate and either continue their education or enter the workforce as a young biologist.