My main research interests are mucosal immunology and host-microbe interactions. I graduated with my B.S. in biochemistry from the University of New Mexico in the 2016. During my junior and senior years at UNM, I worked in the lab of Dr. Irene Salinas. My project focused on interactions between rainbow trout commensal microbes and trout secreted antibodies and secretory component-like molecule. During the summer between my junior and senior year, I did an internship at University of Murcia in Spain, working in the lab of Dr. Victoriano Mulero. There I created a transgenic zebrafish line which has since been used by other members of the Salinas and Mulero labs to study the role of zebrafish crypt neurons in anti-viral immune responses.
I joined Duke’s Cell and Molecular Biology umbrella program in Fall 2016 and then joined the Rawls lab and affiliated with the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Department in Summer 2017. My research goals as a PhD student are to better understand how microbiota regulate host immunity and intestinal physiology through intestinal epithelial cells, and apply this knowledge to better understand the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases and perhaps other inflammatory diseases. In particular, I study the role of a microbially-responsive transcription factor, HNF4A, in maintaining intestinal homeostasis in the presence of microbiota.
I love going on trips to new and interesting places, cooking, spending time in nature, playing strategy games with friends, visiting museums, and reading good fiction books.