I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Biology department at Tufts University with an emphasis on chemical ecology. I’m interested in the mechanisms of plant defense and insect manipulation of plant defenses. My Ph.D. focus is on the effects of climate change and insect herbivory on the quality (flavor and health benefits) of tea (Camellia sinensis)
MS in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology, 2010
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
BA in Biology, 2006
Is microbial ripening a way for tea farmers to improve low-quality monsoon season harvests?
Eastern Beauty wulong tea is only produced from tea leaves damaged by leafhoppers. The induced volatiles produced by damaged tea plants gives the finished tea a unique flavor. How will leafhopper damage change in a warming climate, and how will that impact tea quality?
When plants experience mild or severe drought, how does that change their metabolic response to damage by insect herbivores?
How will elevated CO2 affect plant responses to insect herbivory? How will this interaction impact the quality of tea?
I’ve been teaching biology ever since I was 12 when I became an interpretive guide at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in my home town of Walnut Creek, CA. Since then I’ve taught science of all sorts to all ages in a variety of formats.