Biochemistry & Biophysics
I've always had a love for science, so coming to RPI was a natural step towards building my career and when I got the opportunity to apply for the Accelerated BS/PhD program, I knew it would be the right fit for me. It is exciting to think that through this program I will not only earn my PhD in 7 years, but I will also get the opportunity to work in different labs to discover which area of research interests me the most.
I am a rising Biochemistry and Biophysics Senior and a member of Dr. Swank's lab. Our group focuses on exploring muscle physiology and molecular mechanisms that are involved in muscle contraction. The projects I have been involved in comprise of testing muscle characteristics of our model organism Drosophila, which has been manipulated to express mutated versions of actin and myosin that are often seen in the disease Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. In humans, this disease causes thickening of the heart's ventricular walls and is a leading cause of sudden death in young adults. Experiments I have performed include measuring the power output and work generation by the muscle as well as measuring the fruit flies' flight ability. These experiments give us an idea of the effect of the mutation on muscle properties and I plan to continue this work through my graduate studies.
Outside of classes and research I am the co-captain of the RPI dance team where we perform different kinds of dance, such as jazz and hip-hop, at football and basketball games. We also perform at a recital at the end of each semester. In addition, I am a member of Colleges Against Cancer and the Relay For Life committee where in the fall we coordinate and plan cancer awareness events and in the spring we plan the Relay For Life event on campus that this past year raised over $70,000 dollars.