Professor, Department of Molecular Cell Biology
I am a biologist by training and have been interested in many wide-ranging topics, including the origins of novelty and innovation in organisms (primarily vertebrates) and how changes in the genome can facilitate molecular and organismal adaptation in the long term and the onset of disease in the short term. My laboratory uses whatever tools are necessary to address fundamental biological questions: large-insert cloning, comparative genomics, computational biology, molecular genetics, imaging, biochemistry, and developmental biology. With my move to UC Merced, I have the unique opportunity to apply these tools and approaches to address regional rural health disparities. I have been using my startup and internal funds to conduct research in completely novel areas of biological and biomedical research, including biosystems research on factors affecting pulmonary health in the San Joaquin Valley. This is a critical health disparity in the SJV due to intense agricultural activity (dust, toxicants, microbial infection) and myriad allergens. Additionally, using our new platform, I have initiated the development of diagnostic and potential therapeutic reagents against microbial and viral pathogens, including SARS-CoV2 (Coronavirus-19).