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I am a scientist. I went to graduate school with three little tow-headed sons under the age of 8. I joined the Statistics Department at Rice University in December 1997. I claim expertise in Astrobiology, molecular evolution, and theoretical biology. Vet me here, as you should anyone you consider an expert. And then you will know how to take some of the writing I do.

Areas of Research


This is a science focus that involves multi disciplinary teams researching earth life to understand where life might exist away from earth.

Currently I work with the Virtual Planet Laboratory under the direction of Dr. VIkki Meadows, at the U. of Washington. My focus with this group is origin of life.

Want to see a paper? If you wade through it, you could always ask me a question.

Horizontal Gene Transfer

You know what can happen when you have sex? A baby who shares genes with the mom and dad.

But genes can be shared very differently. Rather than vertical (like described above) you can 'inherit' genes 'horizontally'.

This fuels a LOT of evolution! It's very cool. Ask me after you read.

Environmental Microbiology

My astrobiology and horizontal gene transfer training are tools for environmental microbiology.

I have had collaborators that are incredible scholars and scientists.

This paper details our work in the environment of Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico.

Stay tuned for one from our work in an archaeological dig

Deep Time

Theoretical biology attempts to understand or formulate theories on how life got started on our planet, 4 billions years ago. We use 'phylogenies'.

Think of family trees based on genes.

It's incredibly powerful and often with surprising results.

This paper has been cited over 600 times (that's a nice thing to happen in science).

Want to see my CV?

Curriculum vitae

The long version updated August 2023

A few more words...

I have been working as a scientist for over 20 years. I love the puzzles that biology presents. I love the chance to think about how things might have happened or how they are happening now. I love working with people from all disciplines even when I have to admit I don’t know their vocabulary or the tools they use. I love to learn. I actually loved being a mother more than being a scientist, if not for that I might have had different goals, but despite that my workI is solid and true.