For the last twenty years, our research has focused on plant-mediated interactions using as a main model system wild and domesticated species in the genus Phaseolus. We have obtained results that support the theories of host specialization, density and trait mediated effects, herbivore induced resistance and human-mediated genetic differentiation. 

More recently, we included other Mesoamerican crops: chili peppers, squash, cotton and maize. Current research topics with these systems include: plant-mediated multitrophic interactions, parasitoid ecology and behavior, and consequences of plant domestication for resistance against insect herbivores. We use a combination of lab bioassays, chemical and molecular analyses and extensive field work conducted in Mexico, the region of origin and domestication of all of these crops and where they still coexist with their wild ancestors. 

Our more recent work focuses on The Milpa, a traditional Mesoamerican intercropping system involving maize (Zea mays), squash (Cucurbita spp.) and beans (Phaseolus spp.), and often chili. This intercropping system is considered highly efficient and relatively invulnerable to pests and diseases. We are examining above and belowground associations between the Milpa crops and the associated organisms, aiming to understand the ecological mechanisms that make this agricultural system so successful.