I have always been a scientist. Exploring the microbial world started when I was in preschool and my mom let me have “concoctions” on the kitchen counter. Some were useful (sourdough) and some were basically growing mold just to see what happened. I refined these interests through research internships and education across the country. I obtained my undergraduate degrees in biochemistry/biophysics and microbiology from Oregon State University before moving to central New York (SUNY Upstate Medical University) for graduate school and a doctorate degree in microbiology/immunology. I then returned to Oregon for a postdoc position at Oregon Health and Science University where I continued on, working as a staff scientist, before moving here in August. At UNL, my work focuses on how viruses manipulate human stem cells.
What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I am an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry. I am also affiliated with the Nebraska Center for Virology and the Nebraska Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
When I was applying to faculty positions last year, I was specifically looking for positions like UNL with strong research facilities combined with the support to offer student research opportunities including programs for undergraduates.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the intellectual freedom to determine my own research directions and provide opportunities for students to explore research and get hands-on time in an active lab.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I recently consulted on a science fiction podcast (Apollyon) as a content resource and recorded a “behind-the-scenes” episode on the science behind the story. This is a new area for me (and outside my comfort zone) so is something new I’m proud of.
What is something that most people don't know about you?
I have played the clarinet since middle school and continued through a variety of community bands (from Concert Bands to Klezmer). I hope to find a group in Lincoln to continue.
What is your life like outside of work?
I am new to Nebraska and have spent the fall exploring Lincoln and the surrounding area, familiarizing myself with neighborhoods, city vibes and walking in the country.