In the lab, admiring my beautiful worms!
Undergrad at William and Mary
I went through my first 3 years of college not knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I loved studying Neuroscience, but didn't see myself as a future scientist. I thought I might teach or move to the mountains and be an author/hermit a la Thoreau. Luckily, I discovered the lab of Dr. Mark Forsyth. There, I worked to identify ways in which the bacterium Helicobacter pylori can adhere to the epithelium of the human stomach.
Post-Bac at NIH
After William and Mary, I worked for one year as an [IRTA] at NINDS. This program gave me the opportunity to work full time on a research project. (AND live in a really wonderful place.) At NINDS, I worked on developing a targeted gene therapy for malignant glioma.
Grad School in the Colon-Ramos Lab
Since joining the Colon-Ramos lab in Summer 2009, I have been studying the development of serotonin neurons. Serotonin neurons, while relatively few in number, exert considerable influence in the vertebrate system. They achieve this through the formation of axon arbors and neurosecretory serotonin release sites. Both of these neurodevelopmental strategies are poorly understood, and can be studied in the genetically tractable system C. elegans. As the proudest (and only) member of Team NSM in the Colon-Ramos lab, I am constantly having to fight off [haters] with less beautiful neurons to study.