I am a Professor of Biology in the Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University, where I teach primarily Introductory Biology, guide undergraduate research projects and lead seminar courses on genetic, evolutionary and environmental issues. I am jointly appointed in the MSU Department of Entomology and the Department of Integrative Biology, and am affiliated with MSU's interdepartmental graduate program in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior. I am also a member of the NSF-funded BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action.
My students and I conduct research on the evolutionary relationships of Rhagoletis fruit flies and the parasitoid wasps associated with their eggs, larvae, and pupae. While we are interested in all aspects of the biology of Rhagoletis species, we are particularly interested in deciphering the evolutionary relationships of the naturally occurring Rhagoletis species and populations that are distributed across the temperate zones of the Old and New World.
We are also involved in a number of biology education initiatives and research projects, which are aimed towards helping students understand the relationships of genotypes, phenotypes, Mendelian genetics and biological evolution. One major project involves the design, implementation and assessment of a set of cases for evolution education that integrate principles from across biology's sub-disciplines. Another involves having students experiment with digital organisms, using the computer program Avida-ED, to explore how evolutionary processes play out.
And, of course, we are always trying to figure out ways to teach our courses so that our students maximize their learning and enjoyment of biology!!