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My research focuses on carbohydrate digestion in insects, namely the stick and leaf insects (Phasmatodea).

I am currently working on the many, endogenously produced, plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs) in several species of Phasmatodea. Our goal is to identify and isolate genes for each enzyme, express them in insect cell lines to test their activity against a variety of substrates, and plot these activities against the evolution of the genes themselves. We hope to figure out how these PCWDEs evolved in the Phasmatodea, and what effect they had on the evolution of the order and its leaf-only diet.

This research is funded by the USA National Science Foundation's Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.
last updated on 2015-09-15