NIH F32 Research Fellow
My primary research interest is understanding how innate behaviors are written into the genome. My goal is to identify genetic and molecular mechanisms neurons use to identify partners during development. During my PhD at Vanderbilt University, I worked in Kendal Broadie’s Laboratory studying a Drosophila model of Fragile X syndrome. This disorder is characterized by synaptogenesis defects which are thought to underlie symptoms including intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder. My research focused on the Giant Fiber escape circuit where I mapped several new synaptic partners and identified new Fragile X-related connectivity phenotypes.
I currently study hardwired circuits in C. elegans. I aim to identify cell surface molecules neurons use to select targets, their interaction partners and their genetic regulators. I began this work as a post-doctoral fellow in David Miller’s Laboratory at Vanderbilt University and will be continuing the project in the Dillin Laboratory.