Herpetologist, Evolutionary Ecologist
I study amphibians and reptiles in biodiversity hotspots. My research is centered around understanding how these sensitive animals are affected by human stressors including habitat fragmentation, climate change, and disease. While I spend most of my time on research, I also am involved in community engagement (sometimes referred to as "outreach") including informal science education and advocacy for marginalized groups in STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
I am currently a David H Smith Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellow mentored by Kelly Zamudio at Cornell University.
August 2019 - Just call me Dr. Belasen! I am so grateful to my advisor Tim James, my PhD committee (Meg Duffy, Johannes Foufopoulos, and Lacey Knowles), and all the other people who helped me get here. Off to Cornell now for the next chapter - my postdoc in the Zamudio Lab!
April 2019 - I set my defense date - I'll be defending my PhD on 7/30/19!
Also just skyped a Maryland high school science class at an all-girl school, what an empowering experience for me and hopefully for them! I can't recommend Skype a Scientist enough.
March 2019 - I'm so excited that the awesome Laura Patterson (state herpetologist of California, CDFW) has joined my Smith mentorship team. Laura will serve as my field mentor and will help ensure that I am conducting research with practical value for conservation of California frogs.
February 2019 - So much #SciComm!
Just gave my very first invited departmental seminar - at EMU in Ypsilanti, MI. Thanks to Katy Greenwald for inviting me and to the Greenwald lab for showing me a great time in Ypsi!
This month I also video chatted with three classrooms across the US (in Oklahoma, New York, and Virginia) through Skype a Scientist. The students ranged from 6th-8th grade and it was so much fun to chat with them. One of the teachers later told me one of her students (a 6th grader) decided she wanted to become a scientific researcher after our call. !!!
January 2019 - I am beyond thrilled to announce that I've been awarded a Smith Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellowship! I'll be starting my postdoctoral research in collaboration with Kelly Zamudio (Cornell University) and Rob Fleischer (Smithsonian National Zoo Center for Conservation Genomics) in Fall 2019.
December 2018 - My first dissertation chapter has been accepted for publication in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution! This chapter focuses on immunogenetics and infections by a diversity of potential parasites in island and coastal frogs in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Check it out here!
Psst... click the bird! Follow me on Twitter for the latest news about my research and experiences as a #HERper.