I received my Bachelor of Science degree (summa cum laude) in bioengineering from Oregon State University in 2010. While an undergraduate at Oregon State, I first performed research with Dr. Greg Rorrer and investigated the use of marine seaweeds in the bioremediation of toxic compounds. I also worked with Dr. Ganti Murthy, researching biofuel production from microalgae. I completed an undergraduate thesis with Dr. Adam Higgins in which I studied osmotic transport in neurons with the goal of improving cryopreservation procedures. In addition, I was an Amgen Scholar in the lab of Dr. Rachelle Crosbie at the Center for Duchenne Muscular Dystropy at UCLA, where I investigated the ability of a small molecule drug to improve dystrophic muscle phenotype in vitro and in vivo. I also spent one summer working as an upstream bioprocessing intern at Bend Research, Inc. in Bend, Oregon.
In July 2010, I joined the lab of Dr. Todd McDevitt as a PhD student in bioengineering at Georgia Institute of Technology with the goal of integrating my background in bioprocessing with innovative stem cell technologies. Since beginning graduate school, I have received recognition as an NSF GRFP Honorable Mention (2010, 2011), an NSF IGERT trainee (2010-2012), and a CD4 GAANN fellow (2012-2013). I have also participated in the Graduate Leadership Program and have held leadership positions in the student groups BBUGS and BGSAC. I am actively involved in supporting undergraduate research and act as a reviewer for The Tower undergradutate research journal and the President's Undergraduate Research Awards.
Pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are of great interest in regenerative medicine because they are able to differentiate into all somatic cell types and can be expanded rapidly and indefinitely in vitro. However, increasing evidence indicates that the paracrine actions of stem cell trophic factors may have an equal or greater impact on tissue regeneration than the differentiation of cells post-transplantation. Therefore, my research involves developing engineering approaches to modulate the pluripotent stem cell environment in order to control trophic secretion. Additionally, I'm investigating bioprocesses for ESC culture and trophic factor concentration, focusing on microencapsulation within alginate beads. I'm also interested stem cell heterogeneity and have developed a microfluidic approach to examine cells from an individual embryoid body (EB) on a single cell level.
Outstanding Rapid Fire Presentation, Georgia Tech BioEngineering Day (2014)
Poster Award at the Georgia Tech Research & Innovation Conference (2014)
Petit Institute Interdisciplinary Research and Education Above & Beyond Trainee Award (2012)
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship - Honorable Mention (2011, 2012)
Georgia Institute of Technology Presidential Fellowship (2010-2014)
Bioengineering Student of the Year Award, Oregon State University (2010)
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship - Honorable Mention (2009)
Oregon State University Presidential Scholar (2006-2010)