About Me

Present position

As of September 2012, I am a postdoc in Eileen Furlong's group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.  My research project here aims to better our understanding of how pluripotent embryonic cells become specified into distinct cell types and to illuminate the mechanisms through which natural DNA variation leads to subtle differences between individuals in this developmental progression.  My proposed research will improve this understanding by measuring comprehensive transcription factor binding in a high resolution time course that follows the differentiation of three mesodermal-derived tissues in a population sample of Drosophila melanogaster.

Previous education and work

I grew up on Chicago's northwest side and developed an early interest in biological research working in the Department of Zoology at the Field Museum of Natural History.  I majored in biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked for three years in Dr. David Philipp's conservation genetics lab.  In 2004, I moved to Orlando Florida for a position as a technician in the lab of Dr. Chris Parkinson where I studied conservation genetics of Beach Mice on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.  After one year as a technician, I began a master's degree under Dr. Eric Hoffman at the University of Central Florida where my thesis research used DNA variation to study the evolution of the Ornate Chorus Frog.

I finished my Ph.D. in 2012 in the Committee on Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology at the University of Chicago where Dr. Jonathan Pritchard is my advisor. My Ph.D. research focused on identifying regulatory regions in the human genome and on understanding the molecular mechanisms that link DNA-level variation to heritable variation in gene expression.


My parents have now retired and run a vacation house in South-Central Wisconsin.  My older sister Sarah teaches Spanish at Valparaiso University.  My older brother Luke makes and restores violins at his shop in Wisconsin.   My younger sister is enrolled in a physician's assistant program in Puerto Rico.   I have been married to my wife Hannah since 2006.  She is currently a research assistant in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago and is going to school for accounting.