- National Center for Genome Analysis Support (NCGAS)
I've always been fascinated by how the natural world operates, so I surprised no one when I declared myself a Biology major before officially starting my B.S. at Utica College of Syracuse University. After undergrad, I completed a master's in Biology at Southeastern Louisiana University with the late Dr. David Sever, studying the reproductive morphology of sea snakes. I went on to do my Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology with Dr. Cori Richards-Zawacki, starting at Tulane University but moving with the RZ lab to the University of Pittsburgh. My dissertation looked at the cellular, genetic, and evolutionary basis of polymorphic coloration in the strawberry poison frog, Oophaga pumilio, from Central America.
Along my (sometimes literal) winding path through graduate school, I picked up a diverse set of skills, from image analysis and multivariate statistics to phylogenetics and population genomics. I didn't get far before realizing that I find the tools I employ as fascinating as the biological questions I set out to answer. In particular, bioinformatics tools captured my interest, so my focus transitioned to learning the ins-and-outs of software I used and working toward fluency in R and Unix. I realized a bioinformatics career promised the fun and challenge I sought in my professional life, so when an analyst position opened at NCGAS during my last semester of grad school, applying was a no-brainer.
My interests include adapting common genomics workflows to non-model organisms and large, complex genomes, reproducibility in genomics, diversity & inclusion in STEM, and HPC.
I'm extending my graduate work to fine-tune NCGAS' RADseq analysis pipeline, develop workshop materials for population genomics researchers, and build genome browsers for lesser interrogated species. Other, ongoing work will include containerizing 'omics software on Carbonate, expanding our Intro to R for Biologists course materials, and transitioning NCGAS' Python course to Jupyter Notebooks.
I distinctly remember feeling equal parts excited and terrified when I got my first NGS dataset from the sequencing center. Like many other biologists, I understood my study system and research questions but lacked the computational skills to analyze my sequencing data. It was so frustrating! I floundered for a long time until my advisor connected me with NCGAS. For me, working with NCGAS to analyze my data was the difference between struggling and excelling. I love that my job allows me to empower scientists, in the same way, to tackle their large, complex datasets.
I spend my free time practicing Baptiste yoga, skiing, hiking, fly fishing, and hanging with my black lab mix, Reggie, and sheepadoodle, Juniper.