Research Interests: virology (Zika virus), maternal immunity, vaccine development, public health, and emerging infections
I am from Madison, Wisconsin, and graduated from UW-Madison in 2014, majoring in microbiology and earning a certificate in global health. I leveraged my undergraduate years to explore a range of research fields, getting involved with topics ranging from epidemiology and food microbiology, to quantum physics. After graduating, I spent a year teaching kindergarten in a low-income neighborhood charter school in Boston, through Americorps, and another year as a Fellow at the National Cancer Institute, Center for Global Health, near Washington D.C. In that time, I developed programs for evidence-based cancer control planning, with a focus on Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Returning to my scientific career, I am excited to develop an area of expertise through my training and committed to applying research to improving public health.
I chose MGM because of its research strengths at the intersection of virology and immunology, and a supportive community of faculty and students. In 2017, I joined Dr. Sallie Permar’s lab at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, and am currently investigating maternal immunity to Zika virus. I am characterizing plasma and monoclonal antibodies from cohorts of women infected with Zika virus during their pregnancy as well as rhesus macaques challenged with Zika virus. Identifying differences between the transmitting versus non-transmitting immune profiles will allow us to characterize protective immune responses that prevent Zika transmission to the fetus. This will guide efforts in vaccine development.
When I am not in lab, I can be found rushing around campus for supplies and meetings, hanging out in the North Carolina sunshine with friends, cooking delicious dinners, and sailing on inland lakes. When I can, I enjoy hiking, and traveling to new places.