Caitlin Dunn-Fletcher.Hometown: Portland, Indiana
Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

From a young age I cultivated an interest in science, but in my hometown of rural Indiana there were few examples available to point me toward academic research. As a junior in high school I attended a weekend seminar for students interested in research, where I met someone who was pursuing an MD/PhD in a dual degree program. I fell in love with the physician-scientist pathway and never looked back!

Though I enjoyed my collegiate research experiences, I was looking for something more translational, and over and over again I was pointed toward Cincinnati Children’s. I attended a number of research presentations during my first two years of medical school, and the most exciting projects seemed to be in the labs of Molecular and Developmental Biology faculty. Members of the MDB program, from faculty to other students, have done a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere of willingness to teach and openness to questions. I have appreciated this atmosphere often as I learn new methods and techniques. I am continually impressed at the commitment of MDB faculty to improving not only the state of knowledge in their field but the lives of patients at Cincinnati Children’s and people in the Cincinnati community.

My project in the Muglia Lab gives me the opportunity to work directly on human disease processes while also studying them in other model organisms. This project focuses on corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), a placental hormone associated with birth timing. My research interest is the evolution and regulation of CRH expression by endogenous retroviral elements.