Over the last 10 years, I have been pursuing educational and employment opportunities towards my goal of becoming a molecular and wildlife parasitologist. In 2006 I completed a Masters at the U of New Mexico where I studied phylogenetics of nematodes followed by a year of employment with the National Wildlife Health Center researching the phylogenetics of avian influenza. In 2008 I relocated to New Zealand, where I was awarded a scholarship from the Marsden Fund, to undertake a PhD (2008-2011) on parasite host specificity, under the supervision of Prof Robert Poulin (Evolutionary and Ecological Parasitology Research Group). During my PhD program, I investigated the host specificity of pathogens using molecular tools. The research conducted during my postgraduate programs has provided me with a very solid grounding in a range of fundamental areas, including biological fieldwork, parasite epidemiology, ecology, biogeography, genetics, and genomics.
In January 2012, I joined Prof Robin Gasser’s Parasite Genetics and Genomics Group as a postdoctoral scientist at the U of Melbourne on grants from the ARC (held by Prof Gasser). In my current position, I am working in close collaboration with the water industry (Melbourne Water Corporation). Specifically, as a CI on a recent ARC Linkage grant (LP160101299 2017-2020), I am directly responsible for the development and application of an integrated monitoring strategy, involving the testing for human-infective parasites in native and introduced wildlife in catchment areas supplying water to the entire human population of Melbourne. Additionally, my interest in the use of applying next generation sequencing techniques to parasitic diagnostics has been expanded with the procurement of another ARC Linkage Grant with Profs Rebecca Traub and Mark Stevenson entitled: Chemo-prevention of tropical canine parasitoses and vector-borne diseases (LP170100187 2018-2020).