About Me

I am a postdoctoral scholar in  Dr. Tanya Renner’s lab at Penn State University. The Renner lab investigates the evolutionary history and genomic mechanisms of functional adaptations in carnivorous plants and bombardier beetles. I am using the cape sundew, Drosera capensis L. (Droseraceae, Caryophyllales), as a model organism to identify the genes and signaling pathways involved in Drosera carnivory, map the genomic architecture of carnivory genes given historical and lineage-specific polyploidization, and compare how carnivorous habits evolved across additional lineages in the order Caryophyllales. Through this research I aim to address the broader questions of functional evolution and gene co-option following whole-genome and tandem duplication events, and more specifically address the evolution and regulation of the carnivorous habit in Drosera.

I received my PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, advised by Dr. Kenneth J.  Sytsma. The Sytsma lab specializes in plant systematics and uses phylogenomics and morphometrics to study biogeography, phylogeography, and patterns of trait evolution.

I was a Bonner Scholar at Oberlin College and Conservatory and completed a double degree in biology and piano performance.

I was raised in New York City, but I have enjoyed attending college and graduate school in the Midwest. In my free time I enjoy hiking with my adopted pup, Chara, reading novels, and playing piano.


e-mail: czd429@psu.edu

One thought on “About Me

  1. Anna Hargreaves (McGill) told me about yr talk in Portland (?) on yr thesis project. i’d be curious to compare notes as i’m interested in the distribution of Crataegus douglasii – presumably we share an appreciation of the Marquis and Voss paper in Michigan Botanist (1981).


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