My research seeks to understand how environmental stressors and nutrition affect early developmental processes in vertebrates. I focus on examining the ways in which the neuroendocrine stress axis and energy balance factors interact to regulate growth, morphogenesis, and immune function during early life stages. I am also interested in how these endocrine systems program later life behavior, physiology, growth, and reproduction through their organizing effects during early development.
I primarily use amphibian model systems to study environmental and maternal effects on developmental plasticity, but I also investigate similar questions in other vertebrates. I combine molecular, cellular, endocrine and behavioral approaches to understand these complex and interrelated responses in ecological and evolutionary contexts. I strive to apply our understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying short- and long-term stress responses to adverse environmental conditions to landscape-level processes relevant to questions in conservation biology. My multidisciplinary research program allows students to work on projects in the laboratory, in the field, or both.