News and updates from our outreach events as well as journal entries from Katie's fieldwork seasons.


Field Course

I had a great time teaching the Primate Biology course at Ometepe Island, Nicaragua in December 2013-January 2014 through the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy.  


New Position

I am now working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Colorado Boulder with Steve Leigh and Rob Knight!


IGB-BGI Workshop

I've recently returned from a workshop in Shenzhen, China hosted by the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI). I traveled with a group of seventeen postdocs and faculty members (and one other graduate student) from the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The trip was extremely long, but it was very interesting to see all of the research that goes on at BGI. The amount of sequencing capacity that they have is incredible, and their engineering and programming resources are amazing. The visions they have for advancing research and technology are certainly far-reaching. I especially enjoyed talking with some of their microbiome specialists.

I should also mention that the group from the University of Illinois was fantastic. Everyone was enthusiastic both about the workshop and about exploring our surroundings. I learned quite a bit from our discussion sessions after the BGI presentations and look forward to more discussions in the future.

The Institute for Genomic Biology has posted a brief summary of some of our activities at BGI:


Lab Update

Research is on-schedule! I have completed almost all laboratory work for this project. Once I have all the data back I can start analyzing and writing. Of course, I have been analyzing some of the data over the past few months already, and there have been several writing projects on my plate as well. I currently have two manuscripts and one book chapter in review.

With regard to the lab work, it's amazing how many samples we collected while in Palenque. This dataset is truly enormous. I've included a picture from one step of one analysis to provide an idea of how much processing all of these samples required. It would be interesting to know if I've clocked as many hours in the laboratory as I did in the field in Palenque. Probably not, but I have spent enough hours bent over a lab bench that it's nice to be approaching a temporary stopping point (as I finish my dissertation and move on to the next project). Needless to say, there should be some interesting papers as a result of all of this work.


Lab Update

To date, I have extracted DNA from all of the samples I collected in the field in Palenque National Park and surrounding areas. Thanks to the help of two assistants, Jill and Andrew, this part of the lab work went very quickly. Now, I am continuing analyses using the DNA and hope to have preliminary results soon! (I presented some preliminary data comparing the gut bacteria of howler groups living in forest fragments to those living in the continuous forest of Palenque National Park at the American Society of Primatologists annual meetings in Austin, TX in September.) Stay tuned for publications!