- Research Program Mentor
PhD candidate at Harvard University
Biology, microbiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, physical biology
BioI am currently a Ph.D student in the MCO program at Harvard University with Ethan Garner. In our lab, we study the fundamental processes of growth and division of bacteria. I specifically work on understanding the patterns of cell wall insertion and removal and how this leads to interesting phenomena, such as cell wall twisting during growth. I am most interested in trying to understand the molecular mechanisms biology uses for processes, such as growth. I received my Baccalaureate degree from Oklahoma State University, where I studied microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular genetics and did research on antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. My personal background has deep roots in being fascinated by nature, and to be observant and aware of our surroundings, as many key nuances to life are often overlooked and missed.
Size determination- Can we find patterns using genetics comparing synthesis enzymes?
Even in one shape set of organisms, say rod-shaped, there is a variety of widths that these organisms can have. Further, we know these organisms use peptidoglycan in their cell walls as the structural component, and although there are large similarities in the class of proteins that build the cell wall, there is still a large discrepancy for how this size variation arises. Can we go through all possible rod-shaped organisms, find there average diameter, and compare genetic sequences of their cell wall synthesis enzymes?
Outlining shapes of cells- Segmentation
One of the very first steps and problems in quantifying data from imaging is to draw an accurate outline around the cell- which we call segmentation. In this project, we will use and compare existing software to segment images of bacteria. The goal is to learn how these programs work, as well as optimize systems to segment a variety of shapes of cells.