I was a biochem and art double major in undergrad.  Using a confocal microscope, I can look at my cells. For my last project, it was really important to see what was going on in the cell when I removed a specific protein. Microscopy combines my love of science with making things beautiful.

In this image, the circles are beads coated with a substance that triggers phagocytosis – the engulfment of a foreign particle – that I fed these macrophages.  The red coloring you see is the cell’s actin cytoskeleton.  Just like our skeletons, the cytoskeleton gives the cell its shape. Phagocytosis requires the cytoskeleton to rearrange itself around the bead which is accomplished by recruitment of signaling proteins.  I study what happens when a particular signal is removed from this equation.

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