Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona
Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona
Dissertation Project: Regulatory signaling in repair of environmentally-induced DNA damage
Exposure to ubiquitous environmental carcinogens, such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and ultraviolet radiation, leads to several forms of DNA damage and contributes to genetic instability and the development of cancer. Cells have evolved numerous mechanisms to tolerate the detrimental consequences of such DNA damage, including the Trans-Lesion Synthesis (TLS) pathway, in which non-replicative TLS Polymerases are recruited to stalled replication forks. These TLS Polymerases (including Pol η) can replicate past damaged DNA, but they do so with low fidelity, thereby preserving DNA replication but at the cost of error-prone synthesis. Our lab studies how this crucial damage tolerance mechanism is regulated to preserve genomic integrity.
I joined the M.D./Ph.D. program at Boston University in 2006, where I completed years 1 and 2 of medical school and year 1 of grad school. I joined Dr. Vaziri’s laboratory in 2009 as a first year graduate student in the Department of Pathology at Boston University and subsequently moved with him to UNC-CH. Prior to medical school, I studied the kinetics of heterogeneous reactions in supercritical fluids as a graduate student at the University of Arizona. Specifically, my thesis elucidated how solvent effects of supercritical carbon dioxide impact reaction rates on metal oxide surfaces. I then worked as a chemical engineer in the Boston area before starting in the M.D./PhD program at Boston University. Outside of lab, I play soccer in several of the competitive local leagues around Chapel Hill, and I bike, camp, and spend as much time as possible outdoors.