Where are you from? What was your undergraduate degree and from which university?
I am from Madison, Alabama. I received my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Mathematics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Why did you choose the University of Illinois and the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department?
I wanted to take the opportunity of graduate school to explored a new field of research in a part of the country I have not been before. When I first arrived on visit weekend, I enjoyed the interactions I had with the faculty and other grad students which gave me an overall great experience. Ultimately, it came down to choosing a research program that I had the ambition in pursuing.
Tell us about your research interest. What lab do you work in and what is your role in the lab?
My first experience as a researcher was in biochemistry and structural biology with the Department of Chemistry at UAB. I wanted to continue to research in the protein chemistry and incorporate it with biomedical applications. Currently, I am working on understanding the mechanism of how neurotransmitters are transported by membrane transporters and how mutations affect the transport activity. With this, we can hope gain some insight from a molecular perspective on how these mutations are related to psychological disorders.
What are your plans after you receive your Ph.D.?
I would like to continue pursuing research in the biomolecular/biomedical field, whether in academia or industry. Biomedical research has exponentially evolved other the past few decades and it shows no signs of slowing down. It would be exciting to take part and contribute to the growing field.
What do you do outside of the lab?
Outside of the lab, I enjoy watching series on Netflix. Some Netflix shows I would recommend in no particular order are: Chef’s Table, The Crown, La Casa de Papel, Master of None, and The End of the F***ing World. I am also an avid cook and foodie. Champaign-Urbana has many unique food cuisines to explore and try. Basically, I enjoy breathing and eating, living out of my existence as a human. And the occasional Netflix.