I received my B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, where I investigated mitochondrial DNA variation to identify human population migration and settlement patterns in Circum-Arctic and Oceanic populations in the laboratory of Dr. Theodore Schurr. I spent the next three years investigating dopamine pathway neurotransmitter genes in human and non-human primates at the NIH with Dr. Timothy K. Newman, as well as designing pharmacogenetic DNA sequencing tests for clinical diagnostics, and screening disease biomarker proteins using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry with Dr. David Sarracino at the Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics.
In 2006, I began pursuing my Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. My graduate research focused on the phylogeography, social organization and population structure of a wild population of owl monkeys (Aotus azarai azarai) living in the Argentinean Gran Chaco under the guidance of my advisors Dr. Theodore Schurr and Dr. Eduardo Fernandez-Duque. During this period, my laboratory work in Philadelphia was augmented by primatological fieldwork in the forests of Formosa, Argentina, and training in comparative primate genomics through Dr. Charles Lee’s cytogenetic pathology laboratory at Harvard Medical School / Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I successfully defended my dissertation research on the molecular mechanisms on neotropical primate pair bonds on April 20, 2012, and officially received my Ph.D. on May 14th, 2012.
In July 2012, I began my post-doctoral research in the computational genomics laboratory of Dr. Benjamin Voight at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Since that time, my work has focused on constructing and investigating the genomes of two AMAZING spider species, Nephila clavipes and Caerostris darwini, using computational and next-generation sequencing techniques. The goal? To create a better understanding on the genetic mechanisms behind the production of spider silks: the toughest biological materials on the planet.
I currently live in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with my wife and three wild and crazy kids.