Hi there! I’m currently a PhD student at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon in the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). I am broadly interested in the interactions between microorganisms and the world around them, including the environment, other microorganisms, animals, and humans. For my dissertation in the lab of Dr. Karen Guillemin, I am studying host-microbe interactions and the developing pancreas using zebrafish as a model organism.
Previously, at the Biology and the Built Environment Center I studied the interactions between microorganisms and humans in the built environment (e.g. buildings, roads, cars, trains, etc.). I sought to gain an understanding of the underlying rules and mechanisms that drive the colonization, succession, and establishment of permanent microbial communities in the spaces in which we spend more than 90% of our time.
In the Westerfield Laboratory as an undergraduate, I previously studied the molecular genetic basis of human diseases, particularly Usher syndrome, the leading cause of combined deafness and blindness, and other diseases of the eye and ear. Using a zebrafish model, we modeled disease progression using a combination of anatomical, physiological, molecular, and genetic techniques. The goal of our research was to identify disease-causing genes, to elucidate what goes wrong during disease, and to develop preclinical trials for new therapies. I also worked with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) to create models of disease in zebrafish to understand how specific genetic changes contribute to disease.