About me

Hi there! I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. My advisors are Drs. Marc Johnson and Helene Wagner.

My research focuses on how urbanization influences the ecology and evolution of common milkweed (a favorite of Monarch butterflies). More and more people are moving to cities— did you know that over half the human population lives in urban areas?!— and by understanding how these unique environments affect wildlife on the long term, we can design resilient cities that act as healthy ecosystems for wildlife as well as people.

I’m also developing a keen interest in coding well and teaching how to do so. I have co-instructed multiple R coding workshops at conferences (e.g. CSEE, SORTEE) and locally through UofT. I’m also a newly certified instructor with The Carpentries.

Before graduate school, I earned my B.A. in Biology with a Certificate in Integrative Genomics Sciences from Wesleyan University. Next, I was lucky enough to spend two years as a staff scientist at an ecological restoration firm and learn about all sorts of things— especially field work, multi-year project management, and the value of incredible coworkers.

In my free time I like to go to concerts, explore Toronto’s fascinating neighborhoods (there are >150!), dive into the latest tidy tuesday dataset, and contemplate the wonders of evolutionary resilience.

Milkweed growing in downtown TorontoOn the search for urban milkweed. Toronto, 2018. PC: Samreen Munim
Milkweed seedlings in growth chamberSurveying milkweed in common garden experiment