Geek Out with Me
Science has always been a huge part of my life and I wanted to share my love of science with people and animals. Your pet can be fashionable, while wearing accessories scientifically proven to be adorably nerdy. I've always wanted to get my pups science related gear, but there just isn't much out there in that specific department - so why not start my own shop centered around it?
The Creation of a Nerd
I grew up on Cape Cod right near the tip of the hook (look up a picture of the Cape to know what I'm referring to). The ocean was essentially my home, which jump started my career path to becoming a marine biologist - or a veterinarian. I couldn't decide. I ended up moving to Vermont and attending boarding school at The Putney School, a small high school which felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. Being the progressive school it was I found ways to continue following my passion for marine science. My senior year I created my own "marine mammal" course and then translated most of what I learned into French (which I no longer remember). Our senior year we were allowed to create semester long independent projects in lieu of some standard classes. In collaboration with another student, we created an aquaponic system! My project specially focused on the fish in the system, koi fish. I studied the effects of an omnivorous diet vs a vegetarian diet on the fish as a basic experiment. The conclusion was an omnivorous diet is superior, which is known considering Koi fish are omnivorous in general.
The Road towards Research
Every summer since 2011 until 2017 I partook in internships to gain more experience in research. I've worked at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies studying right whales in the Cape Cod Bay. At Woods Hole Science Aquarium I learned general aquarium husbandry, then later worked on educating the public on the gestation period of skates and chain dogfish. At New England Aquarium I research shell rot disease in American lobsters and the effects of various diets on their health and pigmentation. These internships gave me insight into the world of marine science, specially aquariums. I finally have an internship at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) - this is where I switched my field of research.
My Journey into the Microbial World
At VIMS I studied "in vivo replication kinetics of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) and Flavobacterium psychrophilum in rainbow trout". I thought field work was my calling, but I realized here that I loved bench lab work - specifically working in the microbiology field. At the University of Massachusetts (UMass) - Amherst, I majored in microbiology and got accepted into a lab as an undergrad within my first year there, where I also got my master's degree in microbiology! For the next 3 years I studied the psychology of an intracellular membrane domain within Mycobacterium smegmatis, which is frequently used as the model organism for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of Tuberculosis, within the Morita Lab.
Microbiology Research Assistant
My research within this lab launched my career as a research scientist. I ended up presenting my research at four different conferences: Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, the American Society of Microbiology - Microbe conference, the UMass Undergraduate Research Conference and the Keystone Symposia for Tuberculosis. I won multiple awards for this research and just got my research published in the Journal of Bacteriology:
"Fluorescence Imaging-Based Discovery of Membrane Domain-Associated Proteins in Mycobacterium smegmatis"