Initially trained in basic science, I completed my Bachelor of Science with a major in molecular biology and a minor in sociology at Loyola University Chicago in 2009, where I completed three years of work sequencing and mapping a heterochromatic satellite region of human chromosome 21. Following graduation, I spent two years as research assistant for the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study in Cancer Genomics and Genetics lab at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia. The culmination of my research experiences eventually led me to epidemiology, and I completed my Master of Science in epidemiology through the Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences and Erasmus MC in 2013. My masters’ research focused on imaging markers of neurologic disease etiology. I then combined my academic interests in pursuit of my doctor of science degree in molecular epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and I defended my thesis on molecular markers of esophageal adenocarcinoma survival in 2018. I spent one year as a Ruth L. Kirschtein postdoctoral fellow in the department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, continuing my research on factors influencing esophageal adenocarcinoma survival.
As of May 2019, I am serving a LEaDing Fellows, postdoctoral fellowship in the department of epidemiology in the Precision Epidemiology group at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam. My primary research at Erasmus MC is within the Population-based stem cell induction for complex diseases and large-scale experimentation (POPSICLE) project with the overall aim to develop a robust and reliable framework for induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models for population-based studies. To prevent and treat complex non-communicable diseases, like cancer, we must account for the interaction between environmental and biological factors that contribute to their occurrence and seek a thorough understanding of the physiological mechanisms that lead to disease progression. If POPSICLE succeeds at establishing a framework for population-based iPSC modeling, these models have the potential to allow for experimental studies of complex diseases that have not been feasible up to this point. My long-term career goals include establishing an academic career that would allow me to conduct research and teach. Ultimately, my aim is to conduct collaborative research that can both translate into tangible clinical applications and inform and shape policies and strategies towards cancer prevention, treatment, and recurrence.