I am a PhD student in the Cornell-Smithsonian Joint Graduate Training Program (JGTP) in the field of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation. Before I came to Cornell, I worked as an animal keeper at the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis, caring for five species of endangered wild canids. While I was there, I began research into the possible causes of the very high rates of neonatal mortality in the ex situ African painted dog population, and found evidence linking this mortality to relatedness of breeding pairs.
As part of the JGTP, I’m most interested in genetic diversity and fitness in small, isolated populations. Domestic dog breeds provide an excellent model for understanding how population bottlenecks and fragmentation affect endangered wild canid populations. In Adam Boyko’s lab, I’ll be working on a study to understand the relationship between inbreeding, body size, and longevity among dog breeds. At the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, I’m working with Nucharin Songsasen to investigate the effects of MHC diversity and management practices on reproductive success in African painted dogs.