MS Student | Smith Lab & Dunn Lab
I am a research biologist interested in the evolutionary adaptations of ant societies. Specifically, I study the general antimicrobial ability of ant species to better our understanding of how highly social groups defend themselves against disease. These insights can help us develop better techniques in public health.
Ants live in high density populations and have high interaction rates that facilitate microbe, and pathogen, transmission. To survive the constant threat of disease wiping out a species, ants are expected to produce strong antimicrobials. As an undergraduate, I tested the theory that all ants produce general antimicrobials and found not all ants produce general antimicrobials. The goal of my Master’s degree is to better understand the role of general antimicrobials in ant societies and to identify any indicators for general antimicrobal production in ant species.