Previous Institution: Kansas State University
My interest in biology began with a desire to understand mechanisms that drive cognition and behavior. As such, I earned my B.S. in Psychology at Kansas State University (coincidentally located in a town called Manhattan), where I conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Charles Pickens. Here, I examined correlations between ethanol consumption and both aversive and appetitive learning in rats.
After Kansas State, I spent two years at the National Institutes of Health as a recipient of a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award. I worked in the Laboratory of Behavioral and Genomic Neuroscience at NIAAA under Dr. Andrew Holmes. My projects here were focused on afferent and efferent pathways of the basolateral amygdala and how these pathways contribute to the acquisition of fear extinction in mouse models of PTSD and other anxiety disorders.
At Columbia, I hope to gain a greater appreciation of how very basic elements of biology can drive the function of neural circuits. I am particularly interested in adapting biological tools and mechanisms to restore natural function to cell populations that, for one reason or another, have been perturbed. I think that the intersection of neuroscience and molecular biology is nearing the point of developing viable treatments for neurological disorders and I am excited to see where the research leads.