I was born and raised in Shawnee, KS which is only about a 10-minute drive from the University of Kansas Medical Center. After high-school I attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS where I went on to obtain bachelor's degrees in Biology and Biochemistry, a minor in Chemistry, and a Master's in Biochemistry. During high-school and while attending K-State, I was exposed to the medical profession through my time spent shadowing local physicians and volunteering as a medical assistant at the community clinic. It was during these experiences that I found myself wondering how we could not only help patients but improve the current standard of care for patients. I have always been fascinated with figuring out ‘how' and ‘why' things work the way that they do. This drove me into the field of medical research during my undergraduate and graduate studies at K-State. I began working with immunomodulatory and cancer therapeutics research and went on to investigate the regulatory capabilities of the EGFR/MAPK cascade by ADAM metalloproteases, specifically ADAM12, in the setting of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is a highly aggressive and often fatal form of breast cancer.
After graduating from Kansas State University, I spend the next three years working with Dr. Clay Quint, a vascular surgeon at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Quint's lab works with Biomedical and Tissue Engineering techniques used to develop translational therapies for patients with vascular diseases. After, my first year in the lab I was accepted into the MD/PhD Physician Scientist Training Program at KUMC and was able to continue my research with Dr. Quint while attending medical school. My research was based on developing a method to tissue engineer blood vessels with biopolymers via a technique called electrospinning. We were eventually able to successfully characterize and optimize a tissue engineered vascular graft that could be used to implant into patients in the coming future.
I am now starting my third year in the program, which is my first year in the Ph.D. phase of the program. I have chosen to pursue my thesis research in the lab of Dr. AJ Mellott, a Bioengineer in the Department of Plastic Surgery at KUMC. I intend to complete my Ph.D. in the Department of Bioengineering and my research interests revolve around using Biomedical and Tissue Engineering techniques together with stem cell technologies to develop regenerative therapies in the field of soft tissue and wound care.
Mentor: A.J. Mellot, Ph.D.