Program in Chemical Biology
Rackham Graduate School
Broadly, I am interested in RNA and RNA-protein interactions as drug targets and using chemical biology to develop methods of probing or inhibiting those interactions.
- How does RNA relate to your research interests, and why?
I am developing a cellular assay to enable the detection (or inhibition) of an RNA-protein interaction, which means RNA is central to my project.
- Is there a layman image that could illustrate your research?
I am developing a platform that allows us to monitor the interaction between a specific RNA sequence and a specific protein in the cell. With this technology I aim to discover small molecules that are capable of blocking this interaction, which is of interest as a drug target in several cancers.
- How did you become interested in this topic?
In my undergraduate research I was introduced to the idea of chemical biology through the engineering of DNA polymerases capable of utilizing modified nucleotides, so in graduate school I searched for a lab that would allow me to continue exploring chemical biology and nucleic acids. The assay platform I have been developing during my PhD is a great example of leveraging biological systems using engineered proteins and biorthogonal chemistry to address gaps in technology related to studying RNA-protein interactions.
- Who/what brought you to science?
My junior year of high school I was enrolled in a biotechnology class that introduced me to the idea of laboratory-based scientific research. Through this class I had the opportunity to intern with a local agricultural biotechnology company and I fell in love with the idea of applying scientific experimentation to solving real-world problems.
- What brought you to the University of Michigan?
I joined the Program in Chemical Biology at the University of Michigan because of the diverse breadth of research opportunities and the collegial, collaborative environment.
- What are the main challenges/concerns to achieve your professional goals?
At this point, my main challenge is pinpointing specific professional goals. I would love to be able to experience various careers and tackle diverse scientific problems.
- What’s your favorite hobby?
Whenever possible I enjoy hiking and exploring the great outdoors and during the winter I like to quilt.