Director – Undergraduate Programs
Ph.D., Duke University
M.S., North Carolina State University
Download Erin’s philosophy here.
My research incorporates microbial ecology, nutrition, and comparative gut morphology to investigate novel questions using perfect, unusual systems. For over a decade I have investigated evolutionary adaptation across scales and species, between non-human primates and rogue (herbivorous) carnivores and their gut microbes. More recently, I have engaged the public, particularly students, to study the microbes in sourdough starters and other fermented foods.
In the classroom, I cultivate critical thinking through active learning. Millennial students are not limited by access to content; I focus, instead, on practicing current techniques to collect and analyze novel datasets. By designing my courses around authentic research experiences, I encourage student autonomy and foster practicing scientists.
- The Human Gut Microbiome (2023)
- A gut microbiome tactile teaching tool and guided-inquiry activity promotes student learning, FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY (2022)
- Correlating gut microbial membership to brown bear health metrics, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS (2022)
- Intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence on an omnivore's gut microbiome, PLOS ONE (2022)
- Mink (Neovison vison) fecal microbiomes are influenced by sex, temperature, and time postdefecation, JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY (2022)
- The gut microbiome of wild American marten in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, PLOS ONE (2022)
- A review of sourdough starters: ecology, practices, and sensory quality with applications for baking and recommendations for future research, PEERJ (2021)
- Host Identity and Geographic Location Significantly Affect Gastrointestinal Microbial Richness and Diversity in Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) under Human Care, Animals (2021)
- Human-provisioned foods reduce gut microbiome diversity in American black bears (Ursus americanus), JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY (2021)
- The diversity and function of sourdough starter microbiomes, ELIFE (2021)