B.S. - University of Aston in Birmingham, U.K.
M.S. – University of Waterloo, Canada
Ph.D. – Texas A&M University
My recent research has focused on microbial aspects of fresh and marine water quality and animal sources of fecal contamination affecting watersheds. This involves characterizing (antibiotic resistance and carbon source profiling) bacteria normally found in the intestinal tracts of animals such as E. coli and enterococci, using PCR and qPCR to detect host-specific genetic markers, and examining persistence of fecal bacteria in soils and sediments, as well as surface waters. We are presently conducting experiments to determine how well enterococci can survive in soils and later contaminate waters, under a range of environmental conditions. My students are also sampling a creek and an artificial lake for water quality and characterizing geese fecal bacteria. I have also been working with the estuarine pathogen Vibrio vulnificus, which causes severe wound infections, comparing environmental strains with clinical strains isolated from patients, for antibiotic resistance, tolerance to heavy metals and virulence factors. Other interests include ecology of fungi, plant-microbe interactions, specifically mycorrhizae, which are beneficial relationships between fungi and plant roots in which plants are assisted with the uptake of inorganic nutrients and the fungal partner is provided with organic nutrients, and free-living nematodes in the environment.