Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Undergraduate Institution: Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio
Choosing a grad school is a big life decision. After all the applications were in and all the interviews complete, I had imagined that I would really struggle to find the right grad school. To my surprise, it was a rather easy decision. The MDB program at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital simply out shone all other graduate programs at which I had interviewed. Firstly, the science at Children’s is nothing short of extraordinary. The faculty members are making big strides in their respective fields while working towards benefiting humanity with their work. It is a truly a privilege to be a part of it all. Secondly, there is a strong and supportive community among the graduate students in the MDB program. We have multiple social outings each month and classmates are always willing to give a helping hand when needed. Finally, Cincinnati is a pretty cool city. Growing up in Cincinnati, I was hesitant to go back to the same old town I had known for 18 years. To my surprise, the city is so much more than I had made it out to be and, I am continually discovering new nuggets of excitement and beauty around town.
Since starting the program in 2012, I have joined a lab that focuses on craniofacial development. I generally tell my non-scientist friends that I study cleft lip and cleft palate; however, that is only the tip of the iceberg. I am fortunate enough to be able to study two model systems: mice and chicken. Using these two organisms, I study a class of diseases called ciliopathies. Nearly thirty percent of patients with ciliopathies have some form of craniofacial defect. My research focuses on understanding how these defects arise. The MDB program has been very supportive of my research and helped to fund trips to meetings where I presented my research. They were also supportive of my attending the Woods Hole Embryology Course in Woods Hole, MA. These experiences have been a huge influence on my young career. I am glad that I am part of a program that truly has the interest of its students at heart.