My PhD research at the University of Cambridge (advised by Dr. Olivier Restif) aims to elucidate the connections between bat ecology and viral emergence, focusing on fruit bats (family Pteropodidae) and paramyxoviruses (which include the lethal zoonotic Hendra and Nipah viruses). For my first chapter, I am currently analyzing paramyxovirus and filovirus serology in Eidolon helvum, and its relationship to the ecology and life history of this enigmatic, highly mobile species. This research will hopefully inform both bat conservation efforts and local public health measures.
My undergraduate thesis and ongoing related projects grew out of a Yale-Smithsonian internship I completed in 2018, focusing on ecogeographic variation in treeshrews (Scandentia). In collaboration with Dr. Eric Sargis at Yale and Dr. Link Olson at UAF, I analyze multivariate morphometric data from museum specimens to clarify taxonomic boundaries and conservation priorities for these poorly studied mammals. We also use these data to investigate the effects of latitude and island biogeography on body size and shape in treeshrews.
I grew up in India and am passionate about South Asian wildlife conservation. I serve as a species page contributor for Scandentia on the India Biodiversity Portal, and am the founder and administrator of the Small Mammals of India micro-site, a hub for aggregating citizen science data.
Previously I worked with Dr. Sara Ruane, then at the AMNH Department of Herpetology, on the morphology and ecology of Malagasy snakes (see our project featured here!). Our work culminated in the description of a new cryptic species, Mimophis occultus, based on an integrative analysis of molecular and morphological data.