Featured Student - Meghan Kinder
LAB: Dr. Debbie Threadgill
ENTRANCE YEAR: 2014
HOMETOWN: Star, Idaho
SPECIALTY: Microbial Genetics
I work with Campylobacter rectus, an oral anaerobic bacterium which causes periodontitis in humans and has been linked to other adverse health issues such as increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Pathogenic bacteria, like C. rectus, commonly utilize secretion systems for bacterial-host interactions. The recently identified type VI secretion system (T6SS) has been found to have varying roles in pathogenesis depending on the bacterial species. My research aims to determine the role of the T6SS in C. rectus pathogenesis.
- Why did you choose the Genetics PhD program at A&M?
I have family in the area who were convincing me to become an Aggie for years! I ultimately chose the Genetics PhD program at A&M because of the opportunity to explore different areas of genetics and the great professors and graduate students who are active within the program.
- What is the best part about being part of the Genetics program?
One of the best things: the people! I LOVE GGSA (Genetics Graduate Student Association). The current graduate student members are always so supportive and have become part of my “Genetics family” over the years I have been here. I also really appreciate that we are all in the same program but focus on different aspects of Genetics. Being a part of the Genetics program has helped broaden my horizons outside of microbial genetics.
- What is your current career projection after graduation from the program?
How have your experiences helped prepare you for that future? I would really like to teach at a collegiate level. I have been very fortunate to interact with professors in my undergraduate and graduate careers who have shared their infectious passion for science. I want to be able to provide the same experience and love for science to future generations. Being a student in the Genetics program has opened many doors for professional development in teaching and also as a scientist. There are so many amazing networking opportunities at A&M and chances to earn professional certificates. Being able to teach an undergraduate genetics lab was also such a great experience and provided ways to prepare me for a future in doing what I love.
- When I am not in the lab, I am… going to Zumba or playing with baby calves at my family’s ranch
- My favorite bar in College Station is… hands down the Chicken.
- Who was your famous role model growing up? She’s not famous, but my mom is my most influential role model.