Originally from the wine country in Northern California, I moved to Southern California in 1997 to attend UCLA. I received my B.S. in biology from UCLA in December of 2001. After I graduated I worked with J. Patrick Johnson at Cedars Sinai for a year and a half and then took a big leap and moved across the U.S. to attend graduate school at Georgetown University. I began graduate school in August of 2003 and quickly joined the lab of Elena Silva in the Department of Biology. I was in the Silva lab for five and a half years studying early neural development in the African claw-toed frog, Xenopus laevis. I received by PhD from Georgetown in 2009 and moved to my postdoctoral position at the California Institute of Technology in January of 2010. I was a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Marianne Bronner in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech from 2010-2015. I next became an Assistant Professor in the California State University Northridge Biology Department where I created a thriving undergraduate research program in developmental biology. Currently, I am an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
I study the molecular mechanisms that drive neural crest cell development in chicken (Gallus gallus), quail (Coturnix japonica), and axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) embryos. More specifically, I am interested in identifying and characterizing genes and proteins involved in the specification of these tissues as well as those controlling the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that occurs naturally during development and also during cancer transformation. Eventually, I hope to identify new proteins, and new roles for established proteins that regulate neural crest development.
We currently have three graduate students, one Junior Specialist, and four undergraduate students in the lab, and we are always looking for undergraduate students that are excited about developmental biology! Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.