►Where are you from originally, and where did you go to school?
I am originally from Illinois. I received my BS degree in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I obtained my PhD from UCLA where I studied Ras signaling using yeast as a model system.
►What is your current position?
I am a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics at University of Pennsylvania.
I am also the director of the iPSC Core facility at Penn.
►Why did you decide to become a researcher?
Both of my parents are research biologists and I was heavily influenced by them.
►What is the “Big Picture” of what you study?
I study how stem cells differentiate into specialized cell types and use these differentiated cells to model diseases. One area of interest is using iPSC/hESC derived cells of the endocrine system to study pathogenesis of metabolic diseases. I also direct a stem cell core facility where we generate iPSCs and their differentiated progeny to help other researchers.
►What is your favorite aspect of your research?
To learn about new systems and new biology all the time.
► What do you hope to achieve with your research?
I hope to use these stem cell derived models to screen for drugs and ultimately find treatments for diseases.
►What groups are you involved in?
International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR)
Stem Cell COREdinates (COREdinates.org): a consortium of human pluripotent stem cell-focused core facilities around the world
►When not in the lab what are your favorite hobbies/activities?
I enjoy spending time with my family, watching my daughters’ soccer games, cooking, and watching movies.