As an undergraduate student, Melissa studied Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of California, Davis. She participated in a research project involving Steinernema carpocapsae, an entomopathogenic nematode used in biological control. This work is expected to be published along with the research of Edwin Lewis, Amanda Hodson and Lily Wu. Her current work at UM aims to contribute to our growing understanding of the mutualism between mountain pine beetles and their fungal mutualists. Results of this study will be used to develop climate change models of the system.