I was born in Tallahassee, Florida, and raised on a small farm near Greensboro before moving to Homestead in South Florida. Afterward, I returned to North Florida for college and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Florida State University with a degree in Chemical Engineering and a focus in Biomedical Engineering in December 2018.
My passion for cancer research was kindled by personal experiences and nurtured by my mentor, Dr. Jeremy Chambers, with whom I worked on understanding mitochondrial JNK signaling in cancer during high school, through the Florida International University Summer Research Internship program. Fascinated by the intricate complexity of cancer biology, I continued to pursue cancer research throughout my undergraduate years, exploring various topics in cancer research at FSU, the Wistar Institute, and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
Throughout my research experience, I have employed systems biology approaches, analyzing the graphs/network states from high-dimensional -omics data, including transcriptomics, proteomics, somatic mutations, and metabolomics, to study these highly organized cellular processes. I have gained expertise in bioinformatics techniques in conjunction with "wet lab" cell biology experimentation, in the labs of my mentors Drs. Amy Sang, Timothy Logan, David Speicher, and Vito Quaranta.
My senior design project (with now InnoHealth Diagnostics) piqued my interest in point-of-care diagnostics and the challenges of developing rapid, cost-effective nucleic acid amplification testing. We developed a simple, disposable prototype device and protocol that could detect pathogen DNA in a urine sample through a colorimetric DNA intercalator that was detectable (without additional instrumentation) after loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) of the target sequence. Our team was awarded the FSU Jim Moran Micro Grant, the 2019 Mark K. Scott Infinity Fund Prize InNOLEvation Challenge Award, and competed in the 2019 ACC InVenture competition, with special thanks to the mentorship of Drs. Cesar Rodriguez and Emily Pritchard.
Presently, I am pursuing translational cancer research questions in Dr. David Rimm's lab at Yale, surrounding HER2-low cancer and emerging antibody-drug conjugates. Overall, my research interests include discovering biomarkers for treatment response and characterizing drug-tolerant or immune-repressed states in patient tumors. In this area of research, I am utilizing my expertise in data science and bioinformatics while expanding my knowledge of statistics and machine learning to investigate these complex problems. I am also intrigued by the engineering hurdles in creating robust diagnostic assays and systems to deliver fast, accurate, and reliable results to guide patient care. In the future, I aspire to blend these elements in my research career as a physician-scientist and engineer.
When I am not in the lab, I enjoy playing golf (having competed in the US Kids Tour in Florida), programming, and indulging in science fiction.
Education & Training
- BSFlorida State University, Biomedical-Chemical Engineering (2018)