Research in my lab has two foci and utilizes multiple techniques, including cell culture, Quantitative Real Time PCR (Q-RT-PCR), RNA sequencing, and bioinformatics. One research focus is in understanding how biologically-inspired nano-structures can serves as an extracellular matrix for neuron growth and development. Currently we are looking at the role exosomes play in neuron differentiation. The second research focus of my lab is on the use of Synthetic Biology to examine bioinformatically-identified regulatory genetic sequences. As increasing amounts of bioinformatic software are developed, each with a unique algorithm utilized for prediction, more discrepancy between putative results occurs when examining novel genomes. By physically validating predicted results we can provide insight into effective utilization of bioinformatic methods and comparative genomics. Additionally, this work serves to generate new Bio-Bricks that can be used in other Synthetic Biology projects. Since research is an extension of the classroom, my research is also incorporated into each of my courses through the use of Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE). I am actively involved in the HHMI SEA-PHAGES program and the director of the AR-CURE synthetic biology project.
Selected Publications: * indicates articles with undergraduate authors