I am currently an independent MIT McGovern Fellow at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. Previously, I was an MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School/Harvard-MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology program and completed my PhD in Feng Zhang’s lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in 2018. I have had multiple fellowship positions, including Friends of the McGovern Institute Fellowship, Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, and the NIH F30 National Research Service Award. I am currently on leave from Harvard Medical School while pursuing my independent research activities. In 2012, I graduated with a S.B. degree in Mechanical Engineering and Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Henry Ford II Scholar and Barry Goldwater Scholar.
I presently live in Boston, MA. I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
My doctoral research was advised by Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and focuses on the discovery of novel CRISPR enzymes for applications in genome editing, therapeutics, and diagnostics. I have had six co-first author papers and 19 publications overall in journals such as Nature, Science, and Cell. My first work in the lab focused on trying to uncover novel CRISPR enzymes beyond Cas9 in the hopes of finding new types of enzymes and functionality for biotechnological applications. I co-led the discovery and characterization of multiple landmark pieces of work, including the characterization of Cpf1 for novel genome editing applications and the first single-protein RNA-guided RNA-targeting enzyme C2c2/Cas13. My follow up work on C2c2/Cas13 biology led to the groundbreaking development of a novel platform for highly sensitive diagnostics called SHERLOCK and a new set of tools for knocking down genes, visualizing transcripts, and making precise edits in RNA in mammalian cells with potential for RNA therapeutics.
Previous work focused at the intersection of engineering, nanotechnology, computation/statistics, and biology. My projects have included developing computational models and techniques for studying canonical oncogenic pathways, such as KRAS, at a systems-level across multiple tumor types (cell lines and patient tumors), better molecular tags for super resolution and electron microscopy, creating a nanoparticle-based urine test for diseases, such as liver fibrosis and cancer, exploring the efficacy of a gold nanoparticle vaccine towards fighting cancer, and designing a polymer micro-electrode array for studying neuronal plasticity (see publications).
I am also passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship. Towards that end, I was Co-Founder of MODALYST, a business-to-business online wholesale platform for connecting designers and boutiques. I also Co-Founded the Harvard Medical Student Review, a student-managed, peer-reviewed online journal. While as a senior at MIT, I worked on developing TIMtalks as a Founding Member and my inaugural talk was on the undruggable protein problem and carving your own path in life. I also served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal and Co-President of the MIT Bioengineering-Biomedical Engineering Society.
I am also passionate about education and giving young students a voice and served as a member of the youth advisory board for the USA Science and Engineering Festival.
Please reach out to me on my contact page for questions, advice, or if you just want to talk about science or life!