Graduate Program: Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics
Faculty advisor: Michael O’Connor
Where did you get your undergraduate degree and what was your major?
University of Florida, Zoology
What does your research focus on?
Organ size regulation by TGF-beta Cell Signaling. This signaling pathway is extremely important during embryonic development as well as throughout adult life.
Why did you choose your graduate program?
After visiting and interviewing with several graduate programs around the country, I realized that MCSB exhibited the culture and atmosphere that I wanted to be a part of. During the interview weekend I saw that the host students here were much more social and knew one another both inside and outside the lab. It was easy to see that the host students enjoyed working here and living in the Twin Cities. The social culture and the sense of comradery the students exhibited within this graduate program was enticing. This comradery has enabled my research career because we routinely share reagents and ideas.
What is something a prospective student should know about your graduate program?
Before starting classes and rotations, the entire incoming class goes to Itasca Biological Stations for a two-week crash course on different techniques and biological systems that many have never seen before. This introduces students to many labs in the department that they never considered joining before. In fact, many students end up doing there graduate work in a lab they first learned about in Itasca.
Itasca also is an important time for the graduate class as a whole to come together and become friends with one another. Each incoming class has students from all over the country and they do not know anyone in the twin-cities. Making new friends and getting to know your colleagues can go a long way towards your graduate career. After Itasca, I had more than 25 new friends that I can spend time with after work. Some of these friendships have also resulted in fruitful collaborations between labs.
What's your favorite thing about living in the Twin Cities?
Can I choose two? Bike lanes and Dog parks