I earned a B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, with a minor in English, from Cornell College. I received my Ph.D. in the Biomedical Sciences, with a concentration in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, from the MD Anderson Cancer Center – UT Health Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. I completed my postdoctoral studies as a National Science Foundation – Defense Threat Reduction Agency fellow at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
For the past twenty years, I have worked as a scientist in industry, academia and government. I spent a year working for a food microbiological testing company, developing tests to enable food companies to test their products for the presence of food-borne pathogens. During graduate school, as part of my training, I worked as a graduate research assistant, conducting independent research on everything from electron microscopy of viruses to lung cancer. For the past 10 years, I have been at the U.S. Army Institute of Infectious Diseases, working my way up from postdoctoral research fellow to Senior Research Scientist. My work at USAMRIID has focused on disease models and treatments for viruses like Ebola virus, which caused the devastating outbreak in West Africa in 2014. I have also worked a number of other jobs throughout my life, often more than one at a time, in order to make ends meet and pay for school. I have delivered newspapers, pizzas and phone books. I have worked in fast food restaurants and piano bars, doing everything from taking orders to making food. I have worked in offices and warehouses. I even worked in a bingo hall! I understand what a hard day’s work is, and the importance of education in lifting people out of poverty.