BIOGRAPHY:  I earned a B.A. in Biology at Dartmouth College, where I completed an honors thesis on the evolution of circadian rhythm genes in Arabidopsis thaliana plants under Rob McClung and also studied abroad in field ecology in Costa Rica and Jamaica. I learned focal animal observations during this time by volunteering at the Regenstein Center for African Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, during my summers.

After graduating I spent a year in Mexico comparing seed dispersal between two species of howler monkey. I worked under Alejandro Estrada of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and was funded by the Fulbright Garcia-Robles and National Geographic Young Explorers programs.

I earned my Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology under Paul Garber at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. My dissertation work investigated host-microbe interactions in wild howler monkeys and was funded by the University of Illinois, National Geographic, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

I completed a postdoc at the University of Colorado Boulder under Steve Leigh and Rob Knight. My focus was the gut microbiota of non-human primates, and my main project investigated the gut microbiota of a variety of leaf-eating primate taxa to determine how the gut microbiota may have facilitated the evolutionary transition to consuming hard-to-digest resources.

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Northwestern. My current research examines similarities and differences between the human and non-human primate microbiota to understand how humans might be unique. I am also studying host-gut microbe dynamics in human populations that face either seasonal or chronic nutritional challenges to understand the role gut microbes are playing in either improving or worsening host health in these environments.

Full CV


2013, Ph.D. (Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology), University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

2007, Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude (Biology), Dartmouth College

Grant Support to Date

National Science Foundation

National Geographic Society

Fulbright-Garcia Robles Program

Nacey Maggioncalda Foundation

University of Illinois

Honors & Awards

Azrieli Global Scholar (Humans and the Microbiome), Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (2016-2018)

Invited Speaker, Early Career Scientists Symposium, University of Michigan (2015)

TEDx Jackson Hole Presenter (2014)

Best Student Talk, International Primatological Society, Cancun, Mexico (2012)

Best Student Talk, American Society of Primatologists, Austin, TX (2011)

NSF Graduate Research Fellow, NSF (2010-2013)

Best Talk by Pre-Prelim Ph.D. Student, GEEB, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2010)

Member, Phi Kappa Phi (2010-2013)

Illinois Distinguished Fellow, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2008-2013)

Fulbright Garcia-Robles Fellow, Institute for International Education/Comexus (2007-2008)

Young Explorers Grant, National Geographic Conservation Trust  (2007-2008)

Honorary Reynold’s Fellow, Dartmouth College (2007-2008)

Ray W. Smith Award, Dartmouth College (2007)

Christopher G. Reed Biologist Award, Dartmouth College (2007)

Florence Fletcher Charles Botany Prize, Dartmouth College (2007)

Member, Phi Beta Kappa (2007)

Associate Member, Sigma Xi (2007)

2nd Place, Christopher Reed Science Competition, Dartmouth College (2007)

Richter Memorial Grant, Dartmouth College (2006-2007)

Honors Second Group, Dartmouth College (2004-2007)

Presidential Scholar, Dartmouth College (2005-2006)

Crute Fellow, Dartmouth College (2004)

Member, National Society of Collegiate Scholars (2004)