I was born in Tallahassee, Florida. My parents had a small farm near Greensboro and we later relocated to south Florida in Homestead. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Chemical Engineering (with a focus in biomedical engineering) from Florida State University in December 2018. Personal circumstance drew my interest to cancer, and my mentor Dr. Jeremy Chambers cultivated my interest in research early on in high school where I had the opportunity to study mitochondrial JNK signaling in cancer (through the FIU SRI program). I was intrigued by the organization and complexity of molecular networks. I continued research throughout my undergraduate years, striving to learn systems biology approaches of how to study these highly organized cellular processes as graphs/network states constructed from high-dimensional -omics data. I continued cancer research at FSU, as well as during my internships at the Wistar Institute and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. I worked on several projects exploring topics in different cancer models. I learned programming techniques to dissect data in transcriptomics, proteomics, somatic mutations, and metabolomics – in labs of my mentors Drs. Amy Sang, Timothy Logan, David Speicher, and Vito Quaranta. My senior design project drew me into the realm of point-of-care diagnostics and the challenges of rapid, cheap nucleic acid amplification testing. Our student team InnoHealth Diagnostics was awarded the FSU Jim Moran Micro Grant, 2019 Mark K. Scott Infinity Fund Prize InNOLEvation Challenge Award, and competed in 2019 ACC InVenture (thanks to the guidance of our mentors Drs. Cesar Rodriguez and Emily Pritchard).
I want to continue to develop my interests in cancer research, perhaps with projects on finding biomarkers for treatment response and characterizing drug tolerant states or repressed immune states. I am very interested in the landscape of diagnostic profiling of patient tumors and the engineering challenges of creating robust diagnostic assays.
Fun facts: I played golf growing up and competed in the US Kids Tour in Florida. I enjoy programming and love science fiction.