University of Texas at Austin | PhD Research | Austin, TX
2016 – present
My dissertation research explores the genetic and immunological underpinnings of social stress and social behaviors. A portion of my work studies how early-life social stress effects the immune system and stress-related behaviors (anxiety & depression) in the freshwater species, western mosquitofish. This invasive species can survive and thrive in a wide range of harsh environments. Understanding their resilience and vulnerability to stressful early-life social environments can help wildlife officials combat these invasive fish.
The remainder of my PhD research aims to uncover the genes underlying social behaviors. For this work, I combine neurobiology, immunology and genomics using freshwater fish, sailfin mollies. I use bioinformatics and linear modeling to uncover the multitudes of genes in the brain during these behaviors.
BioFire Diagnostics | Research Associate | Salt Lake City, UT
2015 – 2016
As a Research Associate in R&D, I helped evaluate and validate the compatibility and detectability of pathogens in numerous sample-types, including respiratory and environmental sample-types, for their in-house microarray (FilmArray ®). Working here, I utilized molecular biology and microbiology techniques and followed regulatory compliance practices (GMP, GLP, ITAR and FDA).
University of Utah | Undergraduate Research | SLC, UT
Throughout my undergraduate degree (B.S., Biology), I studied a coral reef species of fish, Bluehead Wrasse. These fish undergo a fascinating transformation from a drab yellow phenotype to a vibrant blue-headed, green-bodied male. This transformation is driven by the social environment and sometimes involved the transition from female to male; a rare occurrence in many species. I studied the social environments that preceded these behavioral transition from the yellow to blue phenotypes. With this work, we were awarded $35,000 of seed funding. My co-first author publication can be found here -> doi: 10.1242/jeb.180901
Huntsman Cancer Institute | Undergraduate Volunteer | SLC, UT
09/2014 – 12/2014
During my final semester of my undergraduate degree, I gained molecular biology experience in Dr. Bradley Cairn’s lab. I helped characterize the epigenetic changes (DNA methylation) that resulted from histone modification drugs in zebrafish embryos. This project introduced me to genetic regulation research, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. Techniques I learned during this semester-long project help me succeed in each of my subsequent science positions.
Salt Lake Research, PLLC (Contract Research Organization, defunct)
Clinical Research Recruiter | SLC, UT
2009 – 2011
My primary role at Salt Lake Research was to recruit participants for our contracted pharmaceutical and medical device clinical trials (Phase IIb, III & IV) in various medical domains (Urology, Gastroenterology, Women’s Health, Oncology). I distributed the approved advertising material, created & utilized questionnaires for the initial screening process, discussed the trials with prospective participants, and scheduled these prospective patients for their enrollment appointment.