Evolutionary Biologist Investigating Dynamics of Genome Size Evolution and Sex Chromosome Differentiation

Preferred Pronouns: He/Him

Updated CV

I grew up in small-town South Dakota with a passion for learning. I attended a small liberal arts college, Augustana College (now Augustana University) where I received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Biology. Here, I also was able to pursue other interests, such as playing the upright bass in symphony orchestras. Partway through my undergraduate program, I discovered research. I started working as an undergraduate researcher after my second year. The next year, I pursued NSF REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates). I was lucky enough to get one of these REU positions in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. It was here that I met my PhD Advisor, Dr. J. Spencer Johnston, and really began to understand what could be accomplished with basic scientific research investigating broad evolutionary questions.

During my PhD, I focused on genome size evolution in Drosophila species. By using Drosophila species as a model, I was able to utilize the long history of research, broad knowledge of this group, and the ease of attaining species from the species stock center to cheaply and quickly investigate genome size with comparative phylogenetic methods. One of the most rewarding aspects of this research has been the ability to include undergraduate research students in the data collection, analysis, and manuscript preparation stages. I know these experiences greatly benefited me as an undergraduate researcher, and I am proud to be able to provide these opportunities for others.

After my PhD, I had two differnet postdoctoral research positions, which allowed me to greatly increase my skills in bioinformatic analyses. In my first postdoctoral position with Dr. Aaron Tarone, I investigated miRNA and protein makers of immature development in forensically relevant flies. In my second postdoctoral position with Dr. Heath Blackmon, I continued to investigate genome size evolution in insects, as well as whole genome sequencing of a variety of insect species. I am happy to still be working with my PhD advisor and both of my postdoctoral advisors on projects which include undergraduate researchers.

Education & Experience

Assistant Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics

UVUDepartment of Biology, Utah Valley University, Orem, UT
August 2021 - Present

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Texas A&MDepartment of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Studying karyotype and genome size evolution across insects.

Advised by Heath Blackmon

January 2019 - August 2021

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Texas A&MDepartment of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Proteomic and miRNA markers of fly development for applications in Forensic Entomology

Advised by Aaron Tarone

September 2017 - December 2018

Ph.D. in Entomology

Texas A&MTexas A&M University, College Station, TX
Dissertation Title: Phylogenetic analyses of genome size evolution in Drosophilidae

Advised by J. Spencer Johnston

August 2013 - August 2017

Bachelor of Arts in Biology

AugustanaAugustana College, Sioux Falls, SD
August 2009 - May 2013


Outside of the lab I like to try to fill my time with hobbies, such as:

Playing music: I'm a classically trained bassist and self-taught guitarist.

Listening to music: I'm a big fan of classical music and hard rock.


Hiking (when I can get out of town). and

Hanging out with my dog, Guinness (lots of pictures of him on my instagram)

me and Guinness
Check out my instagram page to see more!