Research and Teaching Interests
I lead the MicroStats Lab. We seek to understand the genotypic and phenotypic basis of stress resistance and adaptation in fungal microbes. Unlike bacteria, which frequently acquire plasmid-mediated beneficial genes and alleles, fungal microbes primarily adapt through a range of genomic mutations (e.g., single nucleotide changes, insertions, deletions) and karyotypic mutations (i.e., changes in ploidy, the number of chromosome sets, and aneuploidy, copy number change in one or several chromosomes). We collaborate with clinicians in Manitoba to acquire and study isolates of human fungal pathogens, in addition to studies on the eukaryotic genetic model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We are particularly interested in determining the factors that constrain and promote diversity in the context of drug resistance and human virulence. We couple microbial experimental evolution with next generation sequencing and statistical techniques (e.g., genome wide association studies) to “peer under the hood of evolution” and directly probe the factors that influence the rate and genetic basis of adaptation.
I supervise Microbiology students interested in fungal evolution and genomics and Statistics students interested in developing new statistical and computational methods to analyze biological data. Interested students should contact me with a short description of their research interests (why do you want to be in the MicroStats Lab specifically?), their unofficial transcripts, and the names of two references.
STAT7350 (spring 2019): Statistical Analysis and Visualization of Biological Data
MBIO7030 (spring 2019, 2020): Data Analysis and Visualization for Microbiologists (2 day workshop)