Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Professor, Center for Environmental Biology
What attracted you to working at UCI BioSci?
UCI has probably the world’s best group of researchers in the field of microbial ecology and climate change. I came here in 2005 as a postdoctoral researcher to work with a leading ecologist, Dr. Kathleen Treseder, who studies fungi and global change. Then I never left! I landed a faculty position in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department in 2007, and now the scientists that drew me here are my close colleagues.
Describe your area of research and how UCI BioSci students are involved in your work.
I study how microbes function in ecosystems, and how they deal with climate change. We use both experiments and mathematical models to predict what might happen to microbes as the climate gets warmer and drier. Undergrad and grad students are involved in all parts of this research. For example, undergrad research students collect data on microbial enzymes and how they change with temperature. My graduate students are creating and testing improved models of microbes in the Earth system.
Could you speak to the quality of education offered by UCI BioSci? How do you feel it prepares students for professional careers?
I was on a planning committee for BioSci over the past couple years, and it’s clear that BioSci provides a great educational experience. Students really value the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research. Engaging directly in the research enterprise is a phenomenal training experience for careers in the biological sciences. That’s why so many of our graduates go on to graduate school, professional school, and top positions in the private sector.