About me

🍕🧫 Background

I am from New Jersey. New Yorkers may think they have better bagels and pizza, but they’re wrong.

I graduated from Gettysburg College in 2016 with a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology. As a first-generation college student, I got my initial exposure to scientific research in the PhagesRock lab under the mentorship of professors Véronique Delesalle and Greg Krukonis.

Currently, I am a PhD candidate in the Brito Lab at Cornell University in the field of Genetics, Genomics & Development. My graduate work involves the application of different sequencing techniques to understand the movement of mobile genetic elements in the human gut microbiome.

🧬💩 Research

I am interested in bacterial genomics, host-microbe interactions, and all things bacteriophage. My training is in molecular biology with a focus on DNA and RNA sequencing of microbiomes. While much of my time is spent at the bench, I am proficient in R, Bash, and many Linux-based NGS analysis tools.

In 2020, I co-authored a paper with Dr. Alyssa Kent on the use of proximity ligation sequencing (commonly called Hi-C) to resolve mobile element carriage in the gut microbiomes of cancer patients. We found that Hi-C could detect the putative transfer of multi-drug resistance genes between commensal microbes and pathogens within individual patients through time. You can read more about it in Ilana’s Behind the Paper highlight or in my Twitter thread:

The Brito Lab is continuing to innovate in the microbiome mobile gene space with techniques like OIL-PCR. My current projects involve improvements to metagenomic Hi-C to enhance plasmid capture and microbiome metatranscriptomics.

💻📊 Side Projects

I love R and I appreciate well-documented bioinformatics tools. When I write a handy piece of code, I like to optimize it for ease-of-use. Please see my projects page for descriptions of tools and resources that I’ve developed as part of my ongoing research in metagenomics and bacterial genetics.