I'm an evolutionary biologist interested in how venom evolved and its components diversified within arachnids. Most of my research involves fieldwork, ecology, genomics, and developmental genetics.
Genomics, venomics and bioinformatics
I study venom composition and evolution in scorpions and pseudoscorpions using high-throughput sequencing and molecular analysis. My goal is to test if venom composition and evolution is associated with differences in the micro-habitats arachnids live.
I assay select candidate genes identified in model organisms (such as Drosophila melanogaster or Parasteatoda tepidadorium), apply immunohistochemistry and fluorescent microscopy, as well as the generation of transcriptome from embryonic tissues to identify genetic mechanisms underlying the patterning of appendages in scorpions.
I am collaborating with other researchers worldwide in projects including the phylogeography of solifugids, spiders and scorpions (using RADseq; my current postdoctoral project), niche modeling in scorpions to predict climate change impact in conservation areas, and solifugid, and schizomid systematics using UCEs, nuclear and mitochondrial markers
Biodiversity discovery, systematics, and phylogenetics
I describe new species of scorpions (mostly in the family Diplocentridae) and their natural history. In addition, I use phylogenetic frameworks to explore questions about morphological evolution