Major: Genetics and Genomics
Advisor: W. Allen Miller
For my doctoral dissertation, I am focusing on the translation mechanism of maize chlorotic mottle virus (MCMV).
I am interested on telling the story of that mechanism of interest; connecting the dots and observe how that mechanism fit on the chain of reactions that composes it. It is exciting to ensemble all the micro details in a piece of the puzzle, but it is even more exciting when you add your puzzle pieces to the rest to find out the whole image. As nucleotides are the basic puzzle pieces which can ensemble a diverse number of organisms, basic biological mechanism can be used to learn about complex systems of organisms. My present puzzle piece of interest is the translation mechanism of positive RNA viruses. At this stage of my current project, I am focusing on the translation initiation and structural function of secondary structure RNA on the 3’ untranslated region of a positive RNA plant virus (maize chlorotic mottle virus).
My Journey through Science
I discover my fascination of viruses during high school after reading The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. I was enchanted by the final master piece and the chain of internal system failures the viruses provoked. Preston describes a beautiful deadly virus who would rapidly adapt and trigger a deadly chain of reactions on the patients.
Even though, I found my love for biology and pathogens early on in my life, I decided enroll as a Biotechnology/Forensic student at Stevenson University. But biological research didn’t seem to give up on me. It was through Dr. Sydella Blatch that I re-encountered my love for biological discovery and all the unknown. Dr. Blatch was the beginning of a chain of events that led me to where I am today. I discover my potential talent towards biological research during my NSF-REU experience with Dr. Kristen Johansen. If I was unsure of whether pursuing graduate school was a good idea, Kristen put my worries at ease and open my doors to possibilities. She was the push that I needed to embark into an exciting journey in life.
I have been blessed to cross paths with great role models and great scientists during my research journey which I am very grateful of. Dr. Sydella Blatch taught me to be adventurous; Dr. Wendy Kimber taught me to be fearless and not be afraid to take risks; Dr. Kristen Johansen taught me to approach a research question with excitement and joy; Dr. Andrew Kreuz taught me the fun of research questions; Dr. Xiofei Chang and Dr. Suneil Hosmane taught me the importance of teamwork, multitask, and collaboration; Dr. Linda Ambrosio has taught me to find strength in my weakness; and Dr. Miller is teaching me how to shape my ideas into experiments.
As raising new scientist, I still have much to learn and grow. But I take each challenge as I go and make the best of the situation. Overall, I feel that I have surrounded myself with a great group of people.