PhD, Cell Biology, Duke University, Durham, United States, 2016
BS Biochemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, United States, 2010
Note: As a Lecturer, I do not have a research group and am not taking on graduate mentees at this time.
Teaching Philosophy and current research interests:
I strive to engage students beyond the traditional lecture and help them develop skills that will lead to success in the classroom and beyond. Many of my previous students have been challenged by both the college workload and the discrepancies between their expectations and those of their professors. Struggles can often lead to students leaving the STEM education pipeline and widening the retention gap between traditional and nontraditional students (e.g., students with marginalized social identities, students with families, and first-generation college students). My teaching is thus driven by two primary guiding principles that aid students of all backgrounds: promoting self-regulated learning and embedding the development of critical thinking skills through the lens of biology. I continuously seek improvement as an educator to bring pedagogical techniques into the classroom that have been proven to be the most effective for student learning. These principles are designed to increase student self-efficacy and scientific identity and to challenge the intrinsic paradigms held by all students, regardless of background. I have an invested interest in creating an inclusive and equitable classroom by implementing evidence-based, student-led, and innovative pedagogy.
Prior research interests:
In graduate school, I investigated how proteins that regulate actin branching and growth affect neurodevelopment in mice through in vivo imaging and behavioral studies and neuron cultures. I found that defects in actin branching negatively affect neuronal outgrowth and synapse formation in the cerebellum Purkinje cells, leading to motor learning abnormalities. I also investigated the use of fluorescent reporter compounds in the identification and characterization of malignant breast cancer cells and their metabolism. Hsp90, a canonically intracellular molecular chaperone, gets secreted and re-endocytosed in malignant breast cancer cells, making it an ideal target for binding with non-cell permeable compounds that can then accumulate in malignant cells without affecting physiologically normal cells.
During my postdoctoral training, I studied how astrocytes and neurons communicate to promote sleep and circadian rhythms in Drosophila melanogaster. I used the vast genetic resources available to Drosophila researchers to investigate signaling pathways important for night sleep and rebound after sleep deprivation. In addition, as a TEACRS (Training in Education and Critical Research Skills) scholar, I took a particular interest in mentoring undergraduate students and student volunteers in the lab with an emphasis on developing the critical thinking and organization skills necessary to be a successful scientist.