I'm currently a postdoctoral associate in Ed Boyden's Synthetic Neurobiology group at the MIT Media Lab and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. I study the neural substrates of complex social behavior, by developing and applying cutting edge behavioral, viral, and optical techniques.
I received my PhD from the program in interdisciplinary materials science at Vanderbilt University. My research in the Zhang lab focused on the development and application of nanoscale materials to study membrane signaling. I was also a visiting student in the Calipari lab.
I received my B.Eng in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt with a minor in physics and an M.S. in Materials Science before falling in love with neuroscience.
Ultimately, my hope is that engineering approaches can act not only to address but also to drive fundamental questions in neuroscience.
Before entering graduate school, I spent time in various regions of Peru working in the field as a biological anthropologist. I made castings of pre-Incan skulls that I would later analyze using electron microscopy. Although I ultimately traded the field for the lab, my time in South America was truly both challenging and life changing. I am greatly indebted to Tiffiny Tung (Vanderbilt University, Anthropology) for opening my worldview.
I also used to build race cars. 3 years of my undergraduate was spent as part of Vanderbilt's formula SAE program learning machining, composites work, data acquisition, computational modeling, and project management. I was manufacturing lead for 2 years and design lead for 1, capped with a design face-off with the only female scrutineer in Formula 1 (I was honored). I highly recommend these sorts of programs as great hands-on experience.