The focus of my research is to investigate how exposure to light affects development, growth, and survival using zebrafish as a model. Existing data suggest that a variety of cell types are sensitive to light independently of the visual system. Photosensors have been increasingly characterised in the skin, and light sensitivity has been documented in deeper tissues as well. However, the role of photosensitive cells in these contexts is not well understood. Using a combination of single-cell gene expression profiling and behavior assays, I aim to identify what cell types respond to visible light in the developing zebrafish and the molecular mechanisms behind this response. This work will help to inform how light impacts physiology, an important basis for understanding both positive and negative consequences of light exposure in relation to disease.
I earned my BA from Grinnell College and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Iowa, USA. My research project focused on transcriptional regulation in melanocyte development and melanoma, using a combination of zebrafish models and human melanoma cell lines. Following my PhD, I completed a postdoc in the Leukaemia Biology group at CRUK Manchester Institute where I studied transcriptional regulation in acute myeloid leukaemia.