Co-option of endogenous retroviruses for host immune responses, with Cedric Feschotte and Nels Elde
Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
My current research is focused on the biology and evolution of transposons, which are DNA parasites that constitute over half of the human genome. Specifically, I am investigating the long-standing hypothesis that transposon activity is a major mechanism underlying the evolution of gene regulatory networks.
I became interested in evolutionary biology as an undergraduate at UC San Diego, where I worked with Hopi Hoekstra studying the volatile history of rodent placental proteins. I continued studying placental evolution as a graduate student at Stanford University with Julie Baker, where we found that transposons may contribute to pregnancy-related adaptations by functioning as species-specific regulatory elements. Inspired by the potential for transposons to drive rapid evolutionary change, I decided to do my postdoc in the laboratories of Cedric Feschotte and Nels Elde at the University of Utah, where I am studying the role of transposons in shaping the evolution of human innate immune responses. Outside the lab, I enjoy the vast outdoor recreational activities in Utah, including hiking, skiing, and canyoneering.