Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Location and distribution of crossovers and gene conversions during meiosis Collection and analysis of cell-free DNA (cfDNA)
As a Kansas City native I couldn't be happier to be back home at the University of Kansas. After receiving degrees in Economics and Finance from Georgia State University I spent some time traveling the country doing computer programming consulting before coming back home to do post-baccalaureate work at Rockhurst University. I was then fortunate enough to join the MD/PhD program at KU Medical Center.
My major laboratory project involves identifying and characterizing crossover and gene conversion sites formed during Drosophila melanogaster female meiosis. I do this by whole genome sequencing the offspring of two genetically divergent parents and using various bioinformatics tools to identify locations of interest. As a computer nerd at heart I really enjoy the process of writing or using tools to explore the massive datasets that can be generated by next-generation sequencing. Recently, I've begun looking at circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) as a biomarker for a variety of diseases as well as a method for understanding the genomic diversity present within an individual. This is a developing field with lots of potential-an exciting prospect for any researcher. I really enjoy using my skills as a bench scientist and computational biologist to explore various scientific questions. During my PhD training I have been working to shore up my math and statistics knowledge, topics which are not covered heavily during medical training, but which will prove invaluable (and difficult to obtain) once I am an independent scientist. Clinically, I am interested in oncology as a specialty as I look forward to establishing long-term relationships with my patients, something that I believe will become commonplace as we use genomic information to develop treatment methods specific to each patient's cancer. When I'm not in the lab or studying you can typically find me running on one of our many great local trails, pacing a local marathon or half-marathon, or putting on a footrace of my own, the Hawk Hundred.
Mentor & Department: R. Scott Hawley, Ph.D., Stowers Institute for Medical Research