My first serious pursuits in biology began with a fascination for neuroscience and psychology in my high school years. After getting an undergraduate degree in neuroscience at Brandeis University, I went on to work in a developmental neurobiology lab at Rockefeller University in the lab of Mary Hatten. My main project in the Hatten lab dealt with analyzing patterns of gene expression during neural migration and brain development. I enjoyed the process of researching original problems and decided to pursue a Ph.D. at Columbia University. During my first year at Columbia, I did a rotation in a population genetics lab under Guy Sella, where I was given the opportunity to learn a largely new subject and skill set that centered on probabilistic modeling and computational methods. I was immediately engrossed in this new approach to research and decided to complete my doctoral work in population genetics in the Sella lab. My thesis project focused on how natural selection has shaped patterns of genetic diversity, using information from human genetic diversity data to learn about the kinds of natural selection that have contributed to recent human evolution.
After receiving my Ph.D. in late 2020, I traveled to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation to join Dr. Gaffney’s research team as a post-doctoral fellow. In the upcoming years, I plan to apply some of the same bioinformatics and statistical tools that I developed in my doctoral research to study the genetics of human disease, particularly focusing on identifying causal disease variants by analyzing patterns in genomic and epigenomic data.