Why did you choose the Biochemistry PhD program at A&M?
The high quality of the research here was very appealing and initially drew me to apply. When I came here for the recruitment weekend I had a great time and really enjoyed the atmosphere of the department.
How did the first year of the program help you prepare for your independent research project?
The rotations let me dip my toes in a little bit of everything so I could really get a better sense of what I enjoyed working on. That allowed me to make a more informed decision when I joined a permanent lab.
How have your experiences in the BIO BIO graduate program shaped your thinking?
My critical analysis skills have shot through the roof. I really learned how to read papers, interpret data and critique experimental methods. More than that, I have learned how to design thorough experiments, which is a fundamental scientific ability.
What is the subject of your thesis research?
I study hydrocarbon metabolism in the green algae Botryococcus braunii in Tim Devarenne’s lab. I am working to identify the enzymatic components which biosynthesize and excrete unique oils into the extracellular matrix. This knowledge would be highly valuable to the development of advanced biofuels.
What is your current career projection after graduation from the program?
I am interested in entrepreneurship and industrial research and development. I would like to work for (or start!) a company that is at the frontier of bio-based, renewable fuels and chemicals.