How has such astounding variation arisen in extant forms of life? What developmental, behavioral, and ecological mechanisms have led to the products of evolution surrounding us today? How can the interactions in and among the chemical, organismal, and environmental levels tell us what life is?
These are the ultimate questions I strive to answer through research in organismal biology. I’m a third year Integrative Biology student with an emphasis in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology. In the lab, I work with graduate student Erin Jarvis in the quest to understand how such complexity and variation arose in the animal form, particularly through studying Hox genes and the evolution of segmental identity in Parhyale hawaiensis. I’m currently investigating the function of Hox cofactors extradenticle and homothorax through CRISPR/Cas9 mediated knockout. My other roles include care and maintenance of research animals and assisting in day-to-day lab work.
My fascination with biodiversity and science extends well beyond the lab. I’ve always had a passion for animals and understanding, so I’ve synthesised the two in my education at UC Berkeley. Some examples include mentoring elementary school students via science-based activities through the science outreach program Berkeley Engineers and Mentors (BEAM), as well as critically examining animal welfare in a social/environmental context through the service-learning program Alternative Breaks.
My future directions include continuing research in the Patel Lab (and potentially other labs/institutions), continuing outreach primarily to underserved students, and pursuing graduate school.