Career Path – I completed my B.A. in Biology from small private college in Iowa, USA (where I’m from) called Wartburg College. I then moved to Iowa State University to for my PhD in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology in Ian Schneider’s lab (Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering). I am currently completing my post-doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) in Guy Tanentzapf’s lab.
Scientific Interests – I primarily identify as a cell biologist in the context of my interdisciplinary career, interested in how physical properties of the external environment influence a cell. I started by investigating how cancer cells respond to changes in extra-cellular matrix (ECM) stiffness, looking at matrix metalloproteinase activity and cell migration. For my post-doc I decided I wanted to further this interest by looking at a different side of this process; how cells sense changes in physical properties via cell-ECM adhesion molecules. Currently I am working on characterizing novel mouse models for functional mutants in Talin-1. This has allowed me to study focal adhesion biology and in vivo cell migration in the context of mammalian development.