My training in biomedical research includes undergraduate training at Arizona State University (B.S. in Microbiology in 2002), graduate training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology in 2007), and postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University from 2007-2015. Since September 2015 I have been at Emory University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. My research background has been focused on understanding various aspects of virus and host interactions. From undergraduate work to identify mechanisms of programmed cell death induced following vaccinia virus infection, to graduate work in understanding how the Epstein-Barr virus oncogene latent membrane protein 1 induces deregulated cell growth, to post-doctoral work to establish mechanisms of virus cell entry by the nonenveloped reovirus.
My experience with cell-based assays encompass assays that test cellular properties and functions at the individual cell level (e.g. confocal, super-resolution, and wide-field microscopy, flow cytometry, infectivity assays) to population-based assays (e.g. western blot analysis, gene knockdown, transcritpomic analysis) to high-throughput assays (e.g. small molecule and RNAi screening). Advances in liquid handling, high-throughput imaging, high-throughput sequencing, and data analysis technologies have made these techniques more mainstream and allowed for more complex scientific questions to be addressed. At the same time, the advent of improved microscopy and fluorescent labeling technologies have greatly enhanced the ability to visualize nucleic acid and protein targets at the intracellular level. One of my favorite lab activities is to fluorescently tag cellular and viral proteins and assess how their cellular localization is affected during infection. Although this is a simple task, the process of genetically modifying a gene, expressing the modified gene in a cell, and being able to see how it is affected during a viral infection is incredibly rewarding.