CURRENT TEACHING AT PENN STATE
Evolution (BIOL 427—Fall 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)
We will study the theory of evolution and the different levels at which organic evolution can be examined, ranging from variation at the population level within species, to the deep changes within the fossil record. We will also study how genomes evolve from bacteria to multicellular organisms. We will learn about the evolution of body plans and the molecular underpinnings of these developmental transitions. We will use these concepts to understand human evolution and learn how the genome revolution has shed light on evolutionary medicine.
Molecular Ecology (BIOL 445, Spring 2022)
Evolutionary and ecological processes can now be better understood through the application of molecular and genomic tools. The course will explore the history of the application of molecular tools as well as the contemporary application of methods with genomic data. The course involves a mix of lectures—outlining history and concepts—but a greater emphasis on bioinformatic analyses using real-world data. This will includes conducting analyses on Penn State’s “Roar supercomputer” and learning the statistical tools to analyze these molecular data. The course also includes a synthetic final project, drawn from the, primary literature which includes reading and explaining the questions and tools involved in the field of Molecular Ecology.
Evolution Discussion Group (Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023)
This is a weekly discussion of the burgeoning literature on evolutionary biology and genomics. More specifically, our discussions will focus on the applications of high-throughput sequencing to address ecological and evolutionary questions. There will not be a strict boundary on topics, but these fields will be the main foci for discussion. Our focus will be on empirical examples and the application of genomic data, but we will also explore different analytical methods, as they are under such intense development right now. Each week, the class will focus on a single recently published primary research article, which will be chosen by a student / postdoc who will also lead the group in discussion.
Current Topics in Non-Model Genomics (2015 – 2018; BIOEE 7600 Sem 102 Cornell)
I helped lead this weekly discussion of the burgeoning literature on non-model genomics and, more specifically, on applications of next-gen sequencing to address ecological and evolutionary questions in non-model organisms. Our focus was on applications, but also some focus on methods, given their intense development right now. The website is here.
Ecology and Conservation of Wildlife in the Neotropics (Winter 2017; BioEE2525/BioEE2526 Cornell)
I joined Irby Lovette, Leo Campagna, and Roxanne Razavi, to help lead this field course in coastal Patagonia. The class explored the ecology, evolution, behaviour, and conservation of the diverse Neotropics. The field component included a three week trip abroad to various regions around Patagonia, primarily based out of Bahia Bustamante. The website for the class is here.
The Enchanted Isles: History, Literature, and Science in the Galapagos Islands (Winter 2016; WRIT 1430 Cornell)
This Freshman Writing Seminar was a fully integrated science and humanities course. This course was designed for first-year undergraduates, all from STEM under-represented backgrounds. At its core, the program focuses on developing strong language, writing, and critical evaluation skills. I co-led the lecture portion of the course as well as a weeklong field component where we took the students to the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador.
Field Methods in Ecology: Ecosystems of California (Spring 2014; BIOL 409 UBC)
This course focused on historical ecology and natural history of the ecosystems of California. The course helped students develop field methods and investigative approaches to design small field projects across several field sites in California, from the coastal redwood forests, temperate oak savannahs, and the Mojave desert.