Hometown: Jackson, Missouri
Undergraduate Institution: Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri
I received my undergraduate degree from a small school without much opportunity for in-depth research. However, the research I was involved in made me realize that I wanted to continue my education and continue doing research.
I began searching for graduate programs in genetics and developmental biology and from the beginning, the Molecular and Developmental Biology program at Cincinnati Children’s stood out from all of the others. Throughout the application process, there was much more contact with the program here than any other program I applied to. When I came for my interview, I was greatly impressed by the amount of research in such a large variety of fields taking place here. If there is something a student is interested in, chances are very good that someone here is working on it. The atmosphere is very open and collaborative and the relationship of the program with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital offers unique opportunities that are not available in many other institutions. The faculty and administration want to see each student succeed and will take time to help every student throughout their time here. The labs are all well-funded and the research facilities are excellent, and always expanding and receiving new equipment.
Cincinnati is also a great place to live as a student. There is always something to do. The combination of a very generous stipend, and the low cost of living makes living here easy. Cincinnati has everything you can ask for from a large city, while still having a comfortable and close-knit feel.
I am now a third year student in Dr. Saulius Sumanas’ lab and still love my decision to come here. Our lab utilizes the zebrafish model in researching molecular mechanisms of vascular development. My current project is investigating the mechanism of gut vascularization, especially the role of VegF signaling in the process.