Photo by Tatyana Makushok


I am a postdoc in Wallace Marshall’s lab at UCSF. I use microscopes, math, computation, and sometimes fieldwork to understand how cells control shape and movement to thrive in various environments. I am particularly interested in the regulation and evolution of complex cellular function in microbial eukaryotes (protists). I work at the interface of several fields including cell biology, biophysics, and evolutionary biology.

While I started undergrad at Reed College planning on majoring in philosophy, I changed my plans after a philosophy of biology course and research experience convinced me of the beauty and power of the conceptual tools of physics. After a stint in Justin Taraska’s lab at the NIH doing a lot of computational image analysis, I joined the Biophysics PhD Program at UC Berkeley. There, I worked in Nicole King’s lab on the question of how animals evolved from unicellular ancestors by studying the cellular and biophysical mechanisms regulating 3D colony shape in choanoflagellates, the closest living relatives of animals.

In my postdoc, I am trying to understand the biophysical and computational principles by which cells control behavior. To do so, I am studying locomotion and sensorimotor activity in ciliates (primarily Euplotes, a unicellular walker) and amoebae. For more on my research interests, see Research and Publications. Outside of lab, you are likely to find me outdoors, often fly fishing, or playing music. I also enjoy playing around with microscopes both in and outside of lab (see Gallery).

You can find a copy of my CV here.

Academic History