In high school, learning about the CNS, dissecting brains, and being able to design and conduct my own experiment enhanced my interest in the neurosciences. I have since earned BS and MS neuroscience degrees from the University of New England (UNE) in Biddeford, ME, and Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, respectively. Prior to attending the University of Rochester (UR), I worked as a technician and lab manager in three different labs within UNE's Center for Excellence in Neuroscience. Contributing to our understanding of various neurological diseases and disorders continues to be a very rewarding endeavor.
Why The University of Rochester
University of Rochester has a sterling reputation for neuro-scientific research and its laboratory community is very collaborative and supportive. This was the first school at which I interviewed for a PhD and I immediately noticed the fervent, friendly, and caring attitudes expressed among the faculty and students. Everyone is extremely knowledgeable and always going out of their way to help others improve. This is exactly the environment in which I want to prepare my future scientific career and maintain a healthy social life.
The NGP emphasizes individual intellectual rigor balanced with communal engagement within and outside of the university. You're not here solely to pump out data for your lab but instead are encouraged to create a well-rounded skill set and network to enhance your role as a neuroscientist.
The NGP does its best to prepare students for upcoming challenges they will experience in the field through rigorous classes, writing exercises, and annual presentations on their lab work. Having an assigned first year committee for guidance is extremely helpful and the Student Seminar is a great way to track the progress of your own and others' projects. The students and faculty are also very close and collaborate often.
Advice To Prospective Students
Graduate school, and science in general, is a series of highs and lows. Not all of these are predictable. Being passionate about your work and willfully acknowledging what you know and don't know is what will drive you through the next 5 years or more. When deciding whether or not to pursue a PhD, be sure you're ready to dedicate yourself to developing significant and original research. This includes spending a lot of time reading/planning and taking full advantage of the tools around you.
The most important skills I've been able to learn and improve upon include understanding how to conduct hypothesis-driven research, ask important questions, and communicate my research to diverse audiences. My training has included: research collaborations, career planning, scientific communication, public outreach, biomedical ethics, and teaching.
My research interests include the examination of specific molecular pathways that contribute to human neurological/sensory disorders and disease.
Current Research Projects
As a member of Dr. Patricia White's Lab, I'm studying the genetic mechanisms involved in cochlear response to stress within a mouse model of noise induced hearing loss. Specifically, I'm testing the effects of transcription factor FOXO3's deletion within the cochlea in response to a mild noise stimulus. I'm also helping investigate SIRT3's role in the quality of hearing across aging.
I'm leaning towards a position in industry or even scientific writing. UR offers a short internship opportunity of which I may take advantage. I also plan on joining URBEST during my 4th year to identify other career avenues.
Living In Rochester
There's plenty to do when taking a break from the lab. Rochester holds several festivals, concerts, and sporting events year-round in addition to those in nearby Buffalo and Toronto. There's a lot of green space (e.g. Highland Park, Erie Canal Path), great bars and restaurants, several shopping areas and a Farmer's Market, and interesting museums/historical sites. Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes are only short drives away with the Adirondacks and Niagara Falls relatively close by for weekend trips.