I am interested in understanding the reasons why some PAHs are very harmful and others are not so bad. Zebrafish are a great tool for this because we can use them to answer questions about the whole organism and about very specific molecular mechanisms. How much of the PAH do the fish absorb? Where does it go in the fish? What molecular process are being turned on and off in the fish because of the PAH? When we know these we will have a better shot at dividing the toxins from the mostly benign chemicals. That's what I'd like to solve.
I love when we look at some data, like micro grams of PAH in a fish over time, and we ask "What's really going on here?" Then we come up with many, many possible explanations for what could be at play. Then we get to test them! I also love learning some new thing about an enzyme, or signaling cascade, or anything, and turning to my fellow scientists Lindsey or Yvonne and saying "Get a load of this!"
I hope my research helps us understand what characteristics drive PAH toxicity so we can make better decisions about what ones to watch out for and how to keep people and the environment healthy.
As an undergraduate I drank hot chocolate from plastic cups and my friends would often accuse me of poisoning myself in doing so. My chemistry program was kind enough to let me do a whole research project around that idea. It was a ton of fun. Then I happened to meet a toxicologist at a wedding and I realized I could do that kind of research for a living! Let's just say I got a little excited.
Research, Government, Private Industry
You might find me kicking a soccer ball, drawing giraffes, playing guitar, or just generally extroverting.