Graduated from the University of Utah in 2004 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. After college Kirston worked in Dr. Ed Levine’s lab where she used immunohistochemistry to identify markers able to differentiate the subsets of cells in the mammalian retina. Then she joined Dr. Kathy Swoboda’s lab where she worked on developing a Drosophila model system for spinal muscular atrophy and a real time PCR assay to determine the copy number of SMN2 as a predictor of disease severity for spinal muscular atrophy. Kirston then served in the Peace Corps in Kenya for two years where she developed and implemented a food distribution program for clients living with HIV/AIDS. Kirston joined the Margolis lab in 2009 as a graduate student in the department of Microbiology and Immunology.