Hometown: Geneseo, Illinois
This is kind of silly, but the reason I chose to visit Mizzou was because I was impressed by the pamphlet I received in the mail in high school (shout out to the Mizzou PR department). When I came down for a visit I fell in love with the campus, sense of community, and the wide range of opportunities available for undergraduate students, specifically in the realm of research. The MU campus is close enough to home, but allowed me to create my own identity for myself and become the person I truly wanted to be.
What got you interested in biochemistry?
In high school, I liked my science classes best, especially when we talked about the molecular level of life. Because of this interest and the fact that it would give me a great foundation for a field in human or veterinary medicine, Biochemistry seemed like it was a great fit for me.
What do you want to do after you obtain your degree? How has Mizzou prepared you for that?
After graduation, I hope to attend graduate school this coming fall to obtain a PhD in a biomedical sciences related field. In graduate school, I hope to be exposed to an interdisciplinary environment where I can broaden my skill set as much as possible. Currently, I hope to get involved in research with a molecular pathogenesis focus that provides me exposure to the clinical research environment.
My experience at Mizzou has prepared me for graduate school through the various opportunities to get involved and find what I'm passionate about, both in research and extracurricular activities. I have been involved in various extracurricular activities during the past four years along with holding multiple jobs, both inside and outside the MU biochemistry program. The combination of staying really busy in and outside of my coursework has allowed me to develop my time management, organization, and communication skills. As I move forward to graduate school, I hope the skills I have developed at Mizzou will make the transition from undergrad to graduate student a little more smooth.
What internships or scientific jobs have you had?
Since my freshman year, I have been an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Lesa Beamer's research lab. As a junior, I was a LS UROP intern for the academic year of 2014-2015. This past fall, I was a peer learning assistant for Dr. Chris Lee's sophomore biochemistry lab course.
What research projects are you working on currently?
Currently I am working on a project focused around Human Phosphoglucomutase 1 (PGM1) Deficiency, a recently characterized glycogen storage disorder. In our studies, we focus on the effect of a single missense mutation found in clinical patients on the structure and function of each mutant protein compared to the wild type. Each protein is put through a series of biochemical characterization experiments to classify each mutant into one of two categories: kinetic or folding mutant. To find the structural effect of each mutation, proteins that behave well in solution are crystallized and undergo X-ray crystallography experiments to solve the protein structures. Recently, our lab has been performed co-crystallization experiments in the hopes of obtaining structures with ligand bound in the active site.
Awards and Honors:During my time in college, I have been a member of the Honors College, Griffith's Leadership Society for Women, and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I have also made the Dean's List every semester of my college career.
Do you have a minor and/or a second major?
When I graduate I will also obtain a minor in sociology. I chose to pursue a sociology minor to break up the monotony of having all science classes and broaden my intellectual scope. I have really enjoyed the courses I have taken at Mizzou! They have opened my eyes to the various social justice issues that affect the world around me and made me a more informed member of society.
What do you like to do outside the lab and school?
Outside of the lab and school, I enjoy going to concerts both in and out of the Columbia area, attending local festivals like True/False and Roots N Blues, reading for fun, going on adventures, and spending time with my friends.