Short Research Description
Previous Institution: University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Full Research Description
I graduated in 2015 from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, I worked in Dr. Anuska Zochowska’s lab studying the consequences of age as it relates to increased permeability of blood brain barrier tight junctions.
After deciding I hadn’t experienced harsh enough winters in Michigan, I moved to Boston after graduation. There, I joined Dr. Lee Rubin’s lab at Harvard University and I was fortunate to be integrated into a variety of research efforts within the lab. My two primary projects both explored the possibility of manipulating skeletal muscle progenitors along their proliferative axis – either pushing intermediary progenitors “backward” towards a more quiescent, stem cell-like state, or inducing quiescent stem cells “forward” into an activated progenitor capable of fusing with muscle fibers to contribute to muscle regeneration. I was also a member of the lab’s Screening Core, and assisted on assay development for small molecule screens on both primary muscle cells and iPSC-derived neurons.
My role in Dr. Rubin’s lab was unique in that I was studying muscle biology in a lab primarily devoted to studying neurodegeneration. This experience reinforced for me the importance of acknowledging the overarching, complex physiological environment in which each separate organ system operates. It gave rise to my interest in how different systems, or even different cell types within the same system, interact in order to achieve a functional output or maintain proper cell identity. I look forward to exploring these ideas in the context of topics like development or neural function here at Columbia.