Sara O'Leary

Sarah O’Leary

Dr. Zach N. Adelman Laboratory
Entrance year: 2017
Hometown: East Brunswick, NJ

“Female mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) rely on flight to mate with males and obtain a bloodmeal from a host, which is essential for their egg production. My PhD project focuses on using gene editing techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9 to disrupt genes that are critical to female-specific flight in mosquitoes. We plan to use this approach in a novel gene drive-based method of population control for this vector species.”

Research Specialties

Bioinformatics and Genomics
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Genetics

What is at least one big lesson you have learned in the Genetics graduate program that you think is widely applicable to your future pursuits?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s okay to not know something, or not know the answer, but you need to be curious and motivated to find out the how or the why.

When and how did you realize that you wanted to study Genetics?

Growing up, I always had an interest in science and medicine, but when I took genetics during my undergraduate studies, something clicked in me. I loved learning about all the molecular topics of genetics; they really fascinate me.

Fun Facts:

What would be your dream job after graduation from the program?

I’d love to go into industry or government. I’m open about what I want to do, so long as I continue to learn more and contribute towards the growing field of genetics related to disease.

What is your favorite thing about life in College Station?

I like that it is a small town, compared to where I came from in New Jersey. I also like not having to deal with shoveling snow!

Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them.

I do, but she still lives with my parents back in New Jersey. I get to see her whenever I visit home. Her name is Molly. She’s a spunky calico cat, despite her old age.