About Me

I am a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis pursuing a doctorate in plant biology. I am interested in problems of how to communicate science to the public, the culture of urban living, the media, and the intersection between these topics. I like to write about these issues and life as a graduate student in St. Louis.

My research is about mechanosensation in plants. That means I study how plants are able to sense and respond to the forces in the world around them. Plants are extremely sensitive to touch, gravity, even the vibrations of insects, and to the cellular forces of osmotic pressure. I work in the Haswell lab, where we study how a group of ion channels may help plants respond to all of these forces and exactly what they are doing.

Because I am interested in how to communicate science to non-scientists, I take opportunities to talk about plant science around St. Louis. I have been fortunate to work with Gateway Greening, a nonprofit supporting community gardens, to give several presentations about plant biology. I am also an assistant organizer for Washington University's Science on Tap seminar series, a monthly series of talks from WUSTL professors on a wide range of topics held at the Schlafly Bottleworks. I participated in the regional FameLab competition [video] held at Washington University in 2014, and collaborated with Melanie Bauer on an essay calling for better training in science communication, for which we won third place in a National Science Foundation competition. This essay grew out of our time at the Clinton Global Initiative University conference hosted at Washington University in 2013, where I proposed an ongoing collaboration between the plant science and urban agriculture communities in St. Louis. My work with Gateway Greening is part of this commitment. 

I am always looking for new opportunities to practice scientific outreach.

In a past life, I was a founder of the Farm Harvest Festival at my alma mater, Case Western Reserve University, where I received a B.S. in biology and a B.A. in chemistry. I was also a staff writer at CWRU's student newspaper The Observer in my senior year. 

I can be reached by email at hamiltonerics@gmail.com or on Twitter @hamiltonerics.