After graduating from Duke with a BS in Bio (certificate in Marine Bio) I worked at Children's Hospital Boston, Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Harvard Medical School for 4 years as a senior technician managing a 100,000+ zebrafish facility, conducting chromosome walking experiments for grad ant post grad members of the lab, cloned zebrafish orthologues of known blood genes (it was a hematology lab), and studied the spatio-temporal expression pattern of those genes in developing zebrafish embryos.
After 4 years as a tech I attended Washington University in St. Louis where I received a PhD from the School of Medicine. My work revolved around an (at the time) novel protein involved in cell adhesion. This was all done in a mouse knockout model and cells derived from null embryos/newborns. I discovered that Ajuba (my protein) was expressed at sites of cell-cell and cell-substrate adhesion. On top of that, cells lacking Ajuba were either slower walkers (fibroblasts) or defective in cell-cell adhesion (skin keratinocytes). I went on to demonstrate that in both cases, Ajuba acted as both a bridge to the underlying actin cytoskeleton, but also activated the small GTPas Rac, known to be required for both functions.
Washington University in St Louis
Cell & Developmental Biology