I grew up in Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. After graduating high school, I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where I graduated with honors in chemistry and received a certificate in physics (similar to a minor). I worked in the lab of Dr. Joshua Lang, a genitourinary oncologist, where my passion for medicine and cancer research grew. Our work specialized in fluid biopsies for characterization of malignancies. More specifically, we developed a microfluidic device known as the VERSA (Versatile Exclusion-based Rare Sample Analysis). With this device, we were able to isolate circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from blood from patients with melanoma, prostate cancer and clear cell renal cancer. With the cells isolated we were able to analyze proteins by immunofluorescence microscopy. In this lab, I wrote my senior thesis titled "Development of a Platform for Molecular Analysis of Circulating Melanoma Cells" and won several awards including the American Association for Cancer Research Thomas J. Bardos Science Education Award.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, I joined the lab of Dr. Marston Linehan at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Linehan's lab is centered around translating new findings in renal cancer and bringing new drugs to the clinic. While at the NCI, I have worked primarily on a new class of cancer therapeutics called metabolic inhibitors. The metabolism of cancer cells, especially renal cancers, change relative to normal tissue. The idea is to exploit this change to create an environment that is synthetically lethal for these cells.