Research Interests

I prioritize collaborative research that enriches my teaching. This includes Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as well as student-driven disciplinary research consistent with MacEwan University’s mandate as a learner-focused undergraduate University. My SoTL research is linked to my conviction that good teaching is evidence-based. My disciplinary research program is designed with the goal of incorporating undergraduates in all aspects of the scientific process including experimental design, data collection and analysis, and dissemination. Exposure to research enriches the undergraduate  experience and provides students with opportunities to develop critical skills that will support achievement of their academic and career goals. Research is also an opportunity to remain current in my discipline and to engage with my peers.

Current: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

I was previously (2017-2019) a SoTL fellow at MacEwan University and am developing an active SoTL program investigating techniques to improve learning in genetics, and broader initiatives related to inclusive learning. I have attended a number of SoTL conferences including ISSOTL 2018 in Norway to present early findings. I have recently published my first SoTL manuscript and have two others in preparation in collaboration with MacEwan colleagues; “Does a short animated video support learning of meiosis” and “Faculty awareness, understanding, and implementation of Universal Design for Learning”. My SoTL research interests are diverse and reflect my interests in inclusive teaching and interdisciplinary learning.

Current: Characterisation of Nuclear Localization Signals in Arabidopsis Transcription Factors

With undergraduate collaborators, I am using fluorescent protein constructs to identify amino acid motifs necessary, and sufficient, for nuclear localization of Arabidopsis transcription factors. This research initiative is aimed at supporting undergraduate research and provide students with meaningful projects to develop fundamental skills in molecular biology research.

Manuscripts in preparation: Urban Invasives – Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), a recent invader in Alberta [MacEwan University]

Garlic mustard is a highly invasive biennial plant which dominates forest understory, displacing native species. First introduced to North America in the 1800s, it has spread to more than 35 US states and to 6 Canadian provinces including Alberta, where it was first recorded in 2010. The current known range in Alberta is limited to three urban natural areas; two within Edmonton and one in St. Albert. Invasive species have a significant impact on natural biodiversity and are associated with substantial economic losses. Urban invasive species provide an excellent system for undergraduate research as populations are accessible and can support a wide variety of small-scale research projects. We have been coordinating our work with both the City of Edmonton and the City of St. Albert who are actively engaged is control of this prohibited noxious species. We have collected data related to the fecundity, mortality and spread of this invasive species and a manuscript is in preparation. In addition, I am collaborating with Dr. Leah Flaherty (MacEwan University), and Drs Tyler Cobb and Lisa Lumley from the Royal Alberta Museum/Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute on a project examining the effect of garlic mustard on soil mite communities. A second replicate of this study was completed in 2018.

Previous:  Environmental biosafety of transgenic crops [University of Alberta, MacEwan University]

I worked with Professor Linda Hall from the University of Alberta whose research involves biosafety assessments of species being considered as platforms for improvement via genetic engineering. In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for regulating the environmental release of PNTs. This process involves a rigorous assessment of aspects of plant biology which may result in weediness or impact biodiversity. Aspects of the species biology including seed bank persistence, population dynamics, and inter- and intra-specific outcrossing potential are evaluated.

Previous: Regulation of flowering in Arabidopsis thaliana [Australian National University, CSIRO]

My doctoral research focused on understanding the function and regulation of Flowering Locus C (FLC), a repressor of flowering.

Previous: Mapping root maggot resistance in Canola (Brassica napus) [University of Alberta]

My honors research contributed to a project mapping root maggot resistance in canola introduced through an inter-specific cross with white mustard (Sinapis alba).