I design, perform and analyse empirical experiments investigating processes of collective behaviour, optimisation, problem-solving and decision-making in self-organised biological systems. My biological models of choice are ant colonies and the plasmodial slime mould Physarum polycephalum. Prior to my PhD, I developed skills in microscopic visualisation such as histology, SEM, TEM, second-harmonic generation imaging and confocal microscopy, as well as molecular techniques such as real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR. During and since my PhD, I have developed skills in designing, performing and analysing empirical biological experiments, including automated video tracking, time-lapse imaging, macroscopic cell culture, neotropical ant field work, designing and making 3D-printed apparatus for behavioural experiments and the use of associated software and hardware. I am also fluent in the statistical analyses and tools required for my data and the use of statistical software (especially SPSS, JMP and R). I have experience in managing an ethological laboratory, including maintenance of supplies, design and construction of equipment and managing/mentoring students from undergraduate to postgraduate level.

I am also expert at turning over rocks to see what lives underneath (it’s pretty much my favourite thing to do).

Academic Career:

2017-2020

Macquarie University Research Fellow, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia

mid2016-mid2017

Lecturer, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia

2015-mid2016

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Insect Behaviour and Ecology Lab, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia

2013-2015

Postdoctoral Research Associate, The SwarmLab, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, USA

2009-2012

PhD Student; Mechanisms of Optimisation and Problem-Solving in Distributed Natural Systems, Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia

2007-2008

Research Assistant, Nucleic Acid Analytical Technology, Johnson and Johnson Research, Level 4, 1 Central Avenue, Eveleigh, Sydney, Australia

2007

Bachelor of Science (Advanced) with Honours (Advanced) in Biophysics, First Class; A Multi Modality Imaging Study of the Supra-Molecular Changes to Collagen Induced by Breast Cancer University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

2003-2006

Bachelor of Science (Advanced), Biochemistry major, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

Teaching Experience: 

2017: Convenor and lecturer for first year undergraduate introductory biology course Organisms to Ecosystems, MQ

2015: Lecturer and course coordinator for second year undergraduate Agricultural Entomology, USYD

2013-2014: Lecturer for second – fourth year undergraduate Collective Behavior, NJIT

2012: Demonstrator for second year undergraduate Entomology, USYD

2009-2012: Demonstrator for first year undergraduate Concepts in Biology and Living Systems, USYD

2009-2012: Demonstrator for third year undergraduate Evolutionary Genetics and Animal Behaviour, USYD

2006: Resident Fellow, Austin College, University of New England

2006: Demonstrator for first year undergraduate Biophysics, UNE

 

Mentorship:

2016-2019: 1 PhD student

2015: 2 Honours students

2013-2014: 1 PhD Student, 3 undergrads

2011: 1 Masters student

2010: 1 undergrad

 

Editorial Board Membership:

Since 2013: Review Editorial Board Member – Frontiers in Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology

 

Reviewing:

Since 2011:

  • Biology Letters
  • Behavioral Ecology
  • Ecological Entomology
  • Journal of Theoretical Biology
  • Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
  • Frontiers in Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology
  • Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
  • Journal of Insect Physiology
  • Animal Behaviour
  • PLoS One

 

Current Society Membership:

 

Conference Organisation

2014: Entomological Society of America (ESA), Session Moderator

2014: Social Insects iN the North-East RegionS (SINNERS) 3 Workshop organiser, Video tracking ant behavior

2014: International Union for the Study of Social Insects 16th International Congress, Symposium Co-chair; ‘Innovations inspired by social insects: from algorithms to architecture

2013: Social Insects iN the North-East RegionS (SINNERS) Inaugural meeting, Organiser and Founder.

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