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.