Early LifeI was born in Austin, TX, and grew up in Sherborn, MA. Sherborn is a pretty quiet town, and I spent a lot of time as a kid running around in the woods and generally interacting with the outdoors. My parents and grandparents saw that I enjoyed science, and they encouraged me by showing me how to use microscopes, and identify plants and animals in the outdoors from a young age. I find it a little amusing that my first love was field biology, and I wound up studying the architecture of DNA in the nucleus.
RochesterAfter graduating from Dover-Sherborn high school in 2003, I attended the University of Rochester and graduated with a B.S. in molecular genetics in 2007. My first research experiences were here in the aging biology laboratory of Drs. Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov. After graduating in the summer of 2007, I moved to Austin, TX.
AustinI worked in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Aldrich as a laboratory technician for 3 years. Mostly I focused on supporting the electrophysiology researchers by doing a lot of molecular biology: plasmid mutagenesis and design, as well as protein purification and engineering of E. coli.
Over the last year I worked there, I used the staff educational benefit at UT Austin to take undergraduate courses in microbiology. In March of 2010, I was accepted into the microbiology doctoral program at UT Austin, and Dr. Vishy Iyer mentored me in the science of functional genomics. Here I learned molecular biology as it relates to genomics - lots of chromatin immunorepcipitation in challenging substrates, like solid tumors. The Iyer lab is different from a lot of genomics laboratories, because you are dependent primarily on yourself for analysis of data generated. Learning bioinformatics was challenging, and I was greatly assisted by Dr. Edward Marcotte's great bioinformatics class, as well as not giving up on learning R (though I still struggle).
I went through some pretty rough times towards the end of graduate school - my mom died suddenly in 2015 and I'm still grieving. It's a long process that has taught me compassion for myself and others.
BostonAfter defending my dissertation in April 2017, I briefly served as a fellow for a pop-up institute on precision health at UT Austin, and moved back to Massachusetts in July of 2017. In November of 2017 I joined the laborotories of Drs. Patrick Ellinor and Steven Lubitz at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cardiovascular Research Center. Here I've been focusing on functional genomics in left atrium, and understanding the statistical analysis of genetics and phenotype that allows for GWAS identification of risk-associated SNPs. It's great work with really amazing people. My day to day is generally at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in the Medical and Population Genetics group. I'm also a member of Dr. Ellinor's collaboration with Bayer, the Precision Cardiology Laboratory.
In July of 2017, I accomplished a long-time goal and transitioned from being a postdoctoral fellow into being a research scientist at the newly established Gene Regulation Observatory at the Broad Institute. I'll continue collaborating with the Ellinor and Lubitz labs in the future, but for now I'm back in the lab happily working on single cell epigenomics methods with the Epstein, Buenrostro, Bernstein, and Ardlie research groups.