how I ended up where I am

My bachelor's degree was in computer science, with concentrations in math and chemistry. After completing a successful six month internship as a software engineer, I decided to make a career change. I then started my immunology career as a laboratory technician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I then moved to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland with Dr. Lieping Chen. While living in Baltimore I began my ecology training by enrolling in masters level courses in the evenings and on weekends in the Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Program for Environmental Science and volunteering for the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER. I subsequently completed a dual Ph.D. in Zoology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior at Michigan State University (2013).

I next moved to Adelaide, Australia where my wife Emily Johnston is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of South Australia (UniSA). Upon arriving in Adelaide I began working in the Experimental Therapeutics Laboratory (ETL) under the direction of John Hayball. My initial research with ETL focused on using vaccinia virus-based vaccines. Subsequently, John, Greg Woods, and I secured funding for pilot studies to investigate the potential immunotherapy treatments for the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

interests and hobbies

My non-academic interests and hobbies have dwindled a bit as my research projects have expanded, but I have managed to hang on to a few things from my undergraduate years in addition to a few new hobbies I have picked up. Exercise is my favorite leisure time activity. I enjoy playing just about any competitive sport from basketball to bowling to yard games. In recent years running has become my preferred form of exercise and in 2012 I complete the Boston Marathon, finishing in 750th place out of more than 22,000 runners. In 2013 my wife and I officially became ultra marathon runners by completing the North Face 100km run in the Blue Mountains of New South Whales in 13 hours and 36 minutes.

Training for an ultra marathon takes a lot of time, so I try to kill two birds with one stone by listening to podcasts or audiobooks on my long training runs. Reading, particularly novels, history, science books and magazines, and science fiction, is another of my favorite leisure activities. A few years ago I earned my scuba diving open water certification and my most recent endeavor is to learn how to play the guitar.

travel

I love to travel the world and luckily my research has allowed me to spend one year living and working Kenya. I have done short backpacking trips in Europe and in parks around the USA. A short trip to Costa Rica in 2010 was one of my favorite trips and Corcovado National Park is amazing.