assistant professor of neuroscience

Ph.D., neuroscience, University of California San Diego

What I study:

“I’m a biomedical researcher with expertise in neuroscience, genetics, and molecular biology. My thesis work focused on using genetic screening and mapping in C. elegans, which are worms. I mutanized them and looked for phenotypes. I found that to be a really powerful tool, and I wanted to use it in a more complex system. So when I did my post-doc work at the University of Washington, I switched to zebrafish and studying sensory hair cells, which are the cells we use to hear, which is what I work on now.”

What compelled me:

“I’ve always enjoyed science and learning about science. Originally, I thought I was going to pursue genetics. As part of that, I took this behavioral and neural science class in undergrad. I really enjoyed learning how the brain works. Everything we are comes down to these cells and ions and chemicals between one another, and I just found that really fascinating and interesting. So that’s when I changed paths and decided to study neuroscience. In graduate school, I gained experience teaching, and I really enjoyed working with students, and that’s when I realized the education side appealed to me.”

What I’m excited about:

“I plan to continue my research on zebrafish at Lafayette. I study hair cells, which aren’t really in invertebrates, but they are in these fish. You can still use a lot of the tools and techniques on these fish that aren’t really feasible on more advanced, complicated systems. They are also a good teaching tool because they develop in a clear egg, so you can watch these animals go from a single cell to a whole organism. The studies we do are in five-day-old fish, and at five days, they are already swimming around. They have the hair cells that we are studying. Because of the quick development, undergraduates get some meaningful experiences. I like that there is a balance between teaching and research at Lafayette. There are opportunities to improve your teaching, and there are a lot of resources for research. I thought that Lafayette would give me great opportunity to teach while also doing really good research.”

What I’m wearing:

“When I was in graduate school, I had to swap sessions with another instructor to go to my cousin’s wedding, and while I was away, my students took this lab coat, and they all signed it to me and gave it to me on the last day of class. I just thought that was really sweet and was such a very positive first teaching experience. I really enjoy interacting with students and getting to know them, and that’s what appealed to me about becoming an educator.”

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Categorized in: New Faculty