Faculty Mentor: Dr. Thomas Turner and Dr. Megan Osborne
Home Institution: The University of New Mexico
Research Interests: Fish Immunology and Conservation Genetics
I received a B.S. in Biology, minor in Chemistry during Fall 2014. I have an array of research experience from Sandia Nat'l Laboratories, University of New Mexico and University of São Paulo, ranging from microbiological to macrobiological techniques. I have chosen a fish conservation genetics lab to develop molecular technique for future applications in Fisheries Sciences. My project will explore genetic variation at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) Class IIβin the widespread fish, Cyprinella lutrensis. MHC genes are highly polymorphic and are directly related to an individual’s immune response against pathogens. All vertebrate have MHC genes and the efficiency of immune response is related to the diversity in these genes. Cyprinella lutrensis is an ecologically tolerant species that typically occurs in high numbers yet in some populations, neutral genetic diversity is surprisingly low. Genetic diversity in red shiner also shows a latitudinal cline with higher diversity in populations at more southerly latitudes. Characterizing genetic diversity at the adaptively critical MHC genes at the landscape level will provide important insight into the mechanisms shaping the immune response in this species.I enjoy hiking, yoga, traveling, reading, and caring for exotic animals. I volunteer for a parrot rescue on my free time.