I am a research geek and data junky. As a principal investigator, I have a passion for overcoming complex logistic challenges to study topics that most people are afraid of, or repulsed by. When I see animal wastes, for example, I see complex biochemicals that envelop us daily and unaware. Animal wastes are the ultimate “big-data” phenomenon that needs only further investigation, patience, and creativity before we learn how to exploit scents to communicate information to other animals, and in the process, understand ourselves better. When I see city rats, I see organisms that are perfectly adapted to humans and their wastes. Because of this dependence, rats are the most important animal to humans from economic and risk-related (disease) perspectives.
I am closing in on 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 12 research grants. I have specific training in olfaction-based research of predator-prey interactions (e.g., fear ecology), rodentology, molecular ecology, and comprehensive data analytical tools for behavioral analyses. For the last decade, my research has focused on the construction of biological field assays to provide environmental (e.g., real-world) context to research questions typically addressed in the laboratory. I have utilized technological tools such as radio frequency identification (RFID), tri-axis accelerometers, and GPS to enable the marking and repeated identification of free-ranging individuals in highly-variable populations. My work with city rats is on the cutting edge of translational science, whereby findings in the laboratory are extended into context-enriched environments, before making their way into clinical settings.
Post-Doctoral Fellow of the Australian Research Council