I am an anthropologist, a biological scientist who has been collaborative across subdisciplines and departments of social and natural sciences. My research includes studies of the human microbiome and progressive approaches to community engaged research and is largely supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). My current work involves ancient and contemporary metagenome/metabolome studies, including progressive partnerships with hunter gatherer, rural agriculturalist, and urban-industrial communities in the Americas and Africa. My recently published or prepared research papers include an estimate of the core gut metabolome of humans, revealing novel antimicrobial resistance outside of the industrial lifestyle, understanding the impact of colonialism on pathogen evolution, charactering microbiome ecosystem resilience, innovating archaeological residue analysis, and creating perspectives pieces on ethics, pathogens, science, and sovereignty.
I spend considerable effort creating novel opportunities for research and training. I am the founder and director of the Laboratories of Molecular Anthropology and Microbiome Research (LMAMR), which represents an interdisciplinary partnership of faculty from Anthropology, Biochemistry, Biology and Microbiology that seeks to understand biocultural, ecological and evolutionary dimensions of life. LMAMR’s design ensures that faculty not only benefit from shared facilities and staff, but also have clear reasons to collaborate. Moreover, I chaired a center initiative that supported both LMAMR and the Consolidated Core Lab (CCL), a core facility to support campus-wide genomics research at the University of Oklahoma. Additionally, I am the PI for an NIH supported Center of Excellence in Ethical Legal and Social Implications Research.
I have conducted, and secured external funding for (NIH & NSF), teaching and training that has benefited education at a number of levels, from high school through postdoctoral scholars, to continuing education of faculty. Most recently, I was honored to receive a perfect score (NIH Impact Score: 10, award $2+ million) on a National Cancer Institute Youth Enjoy Science (YES) Research Education Program. I am the contact Principal Investigator and the Project Director for this award. My current NSF supported research on pathogen evolution, includes support for continuing education for faculty-level researchers seeking training in metagenomes.