Where did you grow up and go to school?
I am from a farming town called Belvidere, in Northern Illinois. For undergraduate school, I attended Augustana College, where I majored in Biology and Philosophy. Then I came to BCM in 1999 for my Ph.D. studies in Molecular Virology in Dr. Mary Estes’ laboratory. I remained at BCM for my postdoctoral work where I became interested in viral ion channels and calcium signaling during infections. In 2014, I started my own lab here in the Center for Metagenomic and Microbiome Research and Molecular Virology and Microbiology department.
Why did you decide to pursue science?
There is something enthralling about empirically testing the world around us to try to decipher how it works at a foundational level. Science, particularly biology, lends itself to this kind of investigation.
Why did you choose to come to BCM?
I choose BCM for my Ph.D. studies because, at the time, it had a long standing reputation for virology research. Over the past 20 years, I have chosen to remain at BCM multiple time. BCM is a ‘think tank’ of biomedical research, making it an exciting place to work. The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world, providing unique opportunities and an amazing depth of local expertise. Lastly, Houston is a great city to live. Here you can find local neighborhoods with a small town quality, as well as vibrant entertainment and night life options.
What are your research interests?
Our interests focus on how pathogens reprogram host signaling pathways to promote their replication. Largely we study enteric viruses, including rotavirus and calicivirus, but are broadly interested in any microbe that manipulates host signaling pathways.
How do you like to spend your time when not in the lab?
My husband is a native Houstonian, so we spend time with his family. We also enjoy trying new restaurants, which there are many many choices in Houston. Lastly, we enjoy traveling, especially weekend trips to San Antonio, Austin, and New Orleans.