When and how did you realize that you wanted to study Genetics & Genomics?
We can answer such a broad number of questions using genetics that I felt like studying genetics / genomics was the best way to specialize my skill set while keeping generalist interests. A number of different experiences in college helped me decide on genetics and genomics, most notably my time working on phylogenomics problems, identifying microbes on mangrove trees, and helping produce course materials for a bioinformatics course. Plus who doesn’t love DNA and RNA? The code that unifies all living things and holds untold secrets.
Why did you choose the Genetics & Genomics Ph.D. program at A&M?
I originally applied for the program based on a recommendation from one of my professors during my undergrad. When I attended the recruitment week in College Station I felt like the PhD students were all working on interesting projects, the professors were all good potential mentors, and that A&M had all of the facilities and resources that I would need to be successful. I was especially impressed by the core facilities, the computational resources, and the opportunity to work on a certificate in bioinformatics.
If you were free to choose anything, what research question/topic would you like to address for your graduate studies?
- I’ve recently been doing some reading on genomic structural variation and its implications in disease and speciation which is very interesting to me.
- I’m also interested in population and conservation genetics and I think there should be some priority placed on sequencing organisms found in and around coral reefs given their rapid decline and expected loss from global warming and ocean acidification.
- A lot of the men on one side of my family suffer from a rare congenital disorder which, along with other rare genetic disorders, might prove to be an interesting research rabbit hole, although I’m not current on the literature surrounding the condition.
- I’m also interested in developing bioinformatics software and analysis pipelines.
Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them.
Ever since I was a teenager I have kept aquariums of all types. In fact, I have several aquarium inhabitants that I have kept since I was 14. My favorite aquarium fish in my current system is a Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens). My specimen was wild caught in Hawaii, although recent conservation efforts have led to bans on the sale of ornamental fish from the area, including the Yellow Tang. Also notable is my collection of corals, among my favorites are several members of the family euphillidae. I owe a lot of my early interest in science to the aquarium hobby that captivated me from a young age.
Favorite place you have traveled to.
After graduating from high school I lived in Lima, Peru for two years. While my time there was not a vacation by any stretch of the imagination, I fell in love with Peruvian culture and cuisine, learned to read, write and speak Spanish, and had some very unforgettable moments and life lessons.