My research interests are in animal physiological ecology and environmental toxicology. I received my Bachelorís Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine, where I developed my interests in physiology and ecology while exploring the deserts of southern California and Baja California. I went to graduate school at Cornell University to study herpetology and escaped the cold New York winters doing a thesis project on physiological adaptations of xantusiid lizards. Field work on the diversity of Xantusiidae involved habitats ranging from the deserts of North America through the tropical forests of Mexico and Central America.
After receiving my Ph.D. in Environmental Physiology from Cornell, I did postdoctoral research at UCLA studying the consequences of herbivory for dietary energy flow in small desert lizards. I continued work on xantusiid lizards with analysis of ecological energetics, and while living in Los Angeles, I got interested in air pollution. I took another postdoctoral position and then faculty research position in the Department of Community and Environmental Medicine at UC Irvine, and over the next 15 years at UCIís Air Pollution Health Effects Laboratory, I became an inhalation toxicologist. I studied the effects of common urban air pollutant compounds, such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, nitric acid vapor, and suspended particles on structure and function of the respiratory system. These investigations included study of synergistic toxic interactions between oxidant and acid air pollutants and enhancement of oxidant inhalation injury by exercise during exposure. Moving to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, I began study of effects of ozone on thermoregulatory behavior of lizards and frogs and on phagocytic capacities of amphibian pulmonary macrophages.