B.A. Stony Brook University
While at Stony Brook, I conducted ecotoxicology research on the effect of Roundup herbicide on earthworm and soil microbial health. My research interests broadly include how anthropogenic forces affect species distribution and biodiversity, as well as how cultural values affect conservation efforts. In 2014, I conducted research in Madagascar assessing the effectiveness of conservation education programs implemented by Centre ValBio in Ranomafana. Currently, with support from the Explorer’s Club and the American Museum of Natural History, I am using terrestrial blood-feeding leeches to survey biodiversity across several rainforests in Madagascar.
MS/PhD Fordham University
BS East Stroudsburg University
Coming from a background in bird behavior and ecology, I now work on bird microbes in urban and rural habitats. I utilize a variety of molecular and visual methods in order to examine hemoparasite coinfections in passerines.
BS Molloy College
After my undergraduate, I joined the workforce for 9 years providing technical support in cell and molecular biology for cancer research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and later at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. During this time I also began my graduate education in evolutionary biology at the City College of New York, CUNY. I am currently at Fordham University working on my PhD dissertation studying phylogeography, population genetics, and local adaptation of coat color in the African leopard (Panthera pardus). Using contemporary and historical sampling (archival specimens from the collections at the American Museum of Natural History), and implementing genomic sequencing techniques, my research seeks to advance the understanding of the mechanisms that underlie and maintain diversity in Panthera pardus. In turn, this will inform conservation strategy and implementation for this elusive, ecologically important, and threatened species.
M.A. Columbia University
B.A. Boston University
My experience prior to my time at Fordham has been heavily focused on conservation of marine habitats and species, graduating with a bachelors in marine science and a masters in conservation biology. During my masters I focused on conservation and phylogeny of herbivorous reef fish, and afterwards spent two years as the research coordinator for Caño Palma Biological Station in northeastern Costa Rica. Currently, my research interests are broadly focused on using genetic information to inform conservation of migratory animals, and at Fordham I am working on genomic approaches to the conservation of sea turtles.
MS Fordham University/BS Cornell University
Prior to my time at Fordham I worked in the Mammalogy Department of the American Museum of Natural History as a Museum Specialist. Now at Fordham, I am interested in understanding how wildlife populations respond to anthropogenic influences. Currently I am studying the phylogeographic patterns of archival specimens from natural history collections, more specifically, my thesis focuses on conservation genomics through the lens of a broad ranging African fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, that is highly susceptible to different anthropogenic effects.
B.A. Smith College
Before coming to Fordham University, I studied marine mammal nematodes at Smith College. I collaborated with marine mammal rehabilitation facilities to create molecular diagnostic assays using parasite DNA derived from blood and fecal matter. I have also been a laboratory instructor for New England Biolabs’ Molecular Biology Summer Workshop since 2013. Currently, I’m using sanguinivorous terrestrial leeches as a sampling device for biodiversity surveying in the Indo-Pacific using metabarcoding techniques.
Interested in working with one of the graduate students? Reach out to us or Dr. Hekkala to find out what projects we have available.