Evolution ◆ Biophysics ◆ Computation

Nature is interdisciplinary. Ecological systems are forged in the evolutionary crucible which freely mixes biology with the physical sciences. I unite methods from applied physics, evolutionary theory, and ecology to research biophotonics (how organisms manipulate light) and evolutionary conflict (how organisms manipulate one another).

Currently, I research the convergent evolution of photosynthetic animal-microbe symbioses in corals, bivalve mollusks, and other invertebrates. As a Stanford Science Fellow, I am advised by Jen Dionne and Steve Palumbi; I am also supported by the NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, for which I am advised by Sonke Johnsen. David Haig supervised my PhD at Harvard, where I was an NDSEG Fellow and an Ashford Fellow. Before that, I studied biology at Yale (advised by Leo Buss and Rick Prum) and received an MPhil in enviromental policy as a Rhodes Scholar.

Previously, I pursued my goals in photonics, evolutionary conflict, and ecology by researching: (1) the photonics of “super black” color in birds and spiders; (2) evolutionary conflict in mammalian pregnancies; and (3) the ecology of urban forests—ongoing projects that are, perhaps unintuitively, interrelated. First-author papers from my projects have appeared in Nature Communications, eLife, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and Current Biology.

To learn more, click the images below or visit my Research page.

Optics of Coral Reefs      City Trees Project     

Super Black Animals      Biology of Pregnancy     

These projects may seem broad, but they are intimately connected. By studying fantastic ornaments in birds and spiders, I acquired the tools in computational optics to research photosynthesis in threatened coral reef ecosystems. After researching genetic conflicts in human pregnancy, I launched a project on host-symbiont conflict as a cause of coral bleaching and gained the data science skills to research urban forestry. My research philosophy can be summed up in one sentence, oft repeated by my PhD supervisor David Haig: it is worth our while to focus on the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.