Jessica graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 with a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. Working in the lab of Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD, Jessica focused on the differentiation of V2a interneurons from mouse embryonic stem cells for therapeutic spinal cord applications. She also worked on creating transgenic cell lines to better visualize neural networks. While at Washington, she was an active author in the preparation of several manuscripts aimed at furthering the stem cell literature and also collaborated to develop software for a student-designed low cost spirometer and receiver first place in a design competition. In August of 2013, she became a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and joined the lab of Todd McDevitt, PhD with plans to continue neural stem cell research.
The developing neural tube is composed of defined domains of neural cell types that have unique roles in motor function. With a combination of directed stem cell differentiation and utilization of natural developmental processes, an in vitro model of the neural tube will be designed to further investigate early developmental processes as well as roles of neural cell types in motor function.Ideally, this model will serve as a platform to study various neural tube developmental defects such as spina bifida.
NSF Graduate Research Fellow 2014