For the last year, I have been working in Dr. Neal Hammer's lab studying the opportunistic pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is a serious threat to public health worldwide, causing a range of diseases from food poisoning to infective endocarditis. My current project focuses on S. aureus' metabolism of Sulphur, more specifically, glutathione (GSH), a thiol-containing tripeptide. Evidence suggests the existence of an uncharacterized glutathione transporter. Using a method known as transposon sequencing (Tn-Seq), my work hopes to discover the open reading frame that codes for this unknown protein. With Tn-seq, I am able to utilize a two-plasmid system in a strain background, with the known GSH transporter deleted. The idea is that random insertion of transposons will be less likely to occur within the open reading frame (ORF) of concern, due to growth in a high concentration of GSH. Using advanced PCR and genome analysis techniques, we believe this method will allow us to narrow down our search for the unknown GSH transporter to just a few ORFs.
Since my freshman year, I have been a member of the Spartan Marching Band trumpet section. I also play the guitar and possess a large collection of vinyl records. I love everything about both making and listening to music. Another one of my academic interests is computer programming. I started coding in high school, and it is something I am able to do as both a hobby and as a tool in a professional setting. Right now, I am currently working towards earning a minor in computer science.
What I appreciate about MMG/MSU:
Coming to MSU was the best decision I have ever made. The opportunities and resources available to me here have been more than outstanding, and I owe much of my success to both the university and the department. Without the willingness of professors to accept undergraduates into their labs, the availability of scholarships from the department, and the accessibility to advising, I would not be where I am today. From my own experience, the MMG department has some of the most engaging advisors and professors anyone could have at Michigan State. My final thanks goes to Neal for providing me the support to reach my goals over the last year. I have accomplished more than I have ever thought possible, and I am so incredibly thankful to everyone that has helped me along the way.