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Research Interests

I work to describe the gut microbiome—the complex microbial ecosystem that dwells within us—with ecological models. Since many human diseases are associated with altered microbiome compositions, an emerging field of medicine seeks to alter the microbiome in order to promote human health. To inform these therapies, I develop theoretical dimensionality-reduction tools and work with experimental model systems to quantify the link between microbiome composition and host health.

Mentoring Experiences

I am lucky to work with and mentor two gifted undergraduate physics majors. In ecological terms, I would describe our relationship as "mutualistic": I have learned how to identify, communicate, and delegate tractable subproblems within my research, while they have developed their programming, technical writing, and communication skills. As graduate mentor of the Undergraduate Diversity and Inclusion in Physics (UDIP) club, it has been a pleasure to watch the members of the club become leaders of the physics community and foster camaraderie within the department.

What the Award Means to H​im

The career trajectories of undergraduate students are inspired by the research and professional skills that they learn through mentorship. I am grateful to Fiona and Michael Goodchild for recognizing and celebrating these mentors with this generous award. As an undergraduate, I was supported by incredible mentors that prioritized my development as a researcher and prepared me for graduate school, and I am fortunate that as a graduate student I can pass on what I learned. It is a great honor to receive this award and to work with such outstanding students.