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PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

Genetics, genomics, gene editing, evolution, population genetics, molecular biology
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Project ideas

The genomics revolution

There has been a recent revolution in personal genomics- for less than a hundred bucks, anyone can get their genome sequenced. What does this mean for an individual and for society? This project will dissect the different implications of widespread sequencing of human genomes. You will learn how DNA is sequenced, how scientists associate genes and traits, and how medical professionals and privacy specialists are considering this data. Communicating these findings to the public in an easily accessible manner will be incredibly valuable as we all try and navigate this newly emerging world. This can be done through a blog, podcast, or series of infographics.

An era of gene editing

The 2020 Nobel prize in chemistry was awarded to two scientists who pioneered the CRISPR gene editing system. CRISPR allows us to make precise edits in a genome, arming researchers with a shiny tool and hopes of making a world with less disease and better crops. With this project, you will choose a question or problem that you think could be addressed using gene editing with CRISPR. After learning how CRISPR works on a technical level, you can design an experiment to edit a gene of interest. The last phase of this project has you consider the broader consequences of gene editing. You can share your insights in an educational video, infographic, or other mediums.

Evolution of a gene

Why do some genes evolve rapidly and others not change for millions of years? In this project, you will first gain an understanding of population genetics and how genes evolve. Then, you will conduct firsthand research by choosing a few genes in the fruit fly model organism Drosophila melanogaster and discovering if your genes are evolving rapidly or are under constraint. Based on your genes’ functions, would you hypothesize that their evolutionary trajectory is the former or the latter? You will write up your findings in a research paper.

Coding skills

python, R

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