I hail from the beautiful Pacific Northwest where I graduated from the University of Washington in 2008 with a BS in Neurobiology. I spent a year as a research scientist in a neurology lab at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle studying the effects of ischemia in the aging brain. In 2009 I moved to Chapel Hill to begin graduate school at UNC. I live on a "mini farm", complete with chickens, fruit trees, berry bushes and several vegetable, herb and flowerbeds and of course, my faithful hound dog and pint sized pickup truck. When I am not tending to the garden I enjoy sharing the excitement and discovery of science with everyone and anyone.
In the spring of 2010 I joined the Lab of Larysa Pevny in the Genetics Department. Under her careful tutelage I began researching the development and maturation of the retina's main support cell: Müller glia. These glial cells are of particular interest because they serve as a progenitor population in certain species and, in response to retinal injury, can dedifferentiate into neurons. While mammalian retinas show little regenerative potential, Müller glia express the transcription factor Sox2. Sox2 is expressed in all stem populations and is an essential factor in reprograming cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). My project addresses the function of Sox2 in the maturation and maintenance of Müller glia in the healthy and diseased retina. I currently am aided in my study by Ellen Weiss and Eva Anton.
- Neurobiology Training Grant, 2009-2011
- NSF GRFP Honorable Mention, 2011
- Pierre Morell Research Day Committee, 2009-2012, Chair 2010-2011
- Teaching Assistant, UNC Home School Workshop,2010-2011
- UNC DNA Day, served on student committee that developed and filmed an hour-long lesson on DNA that was produced by UNC PBS and is available to teachers around the country for classroom use