Current Position/Institution: Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park (UMD).
Ph.D. Institution: Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Princeton University, 2000.
• Postdoctoral Scholar with Dr. Marianne Bronner, neural crest and placode cell development, California Institute of Technology (2002-2007)
• Assistant Professor, UMD (2007-2015)
• Faculty Member, Biological Sciences Graduate Program, Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences Graduate Program, UMD (2007-present)
• Affiliate, Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics (2010-present)
• Associate Professor, UMD (2015-2019).
• Recombinant DNA Laboratory (2009-present, undergraduate and graduate students)
• Comparative Vertebrate Development (2010, 2013, undergraduate and graduate students)
• Responsible Conduct of Research (2017, 2018, graduate students).
• Session Chair, AAA Annual Meeting (2016, 2018, 2020 (postponed to 2021 due to cancellation of the 2020 AAA meeting))
• Secretary, Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology (SCGDB, an affiliate society of AAA, 2016-2019)
• Chair, Task Force on AAA Regional Meetings (2017-2018)
• Member, AAA Program Committee (2017-present)
• Past-Secretary, SCGDB (2019-2020).
Other Professional Activities:
• Principal Organizer, Society for Developmental Biology Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting (2009) and SCGDB Annual Meeting (2015)
• Vice-Chair (2021) and Chair (2023), Gordon Research Conference on Neural Crest and Cranial Placodes
• Member, National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Gene Drive Research in Non-Human Organisms: Recommendations for Responsible Conduct (2015-2016)
• Grant review (adhoc for NIH, NSF and BBSRC)
• Manuscript review (e.g., Development, Developmental Biology, Developmental Dynamics, Genesis, Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Cell Science)
• Frontiers in Physiology (2011-present)
• Developmental Dynamics (2020-2022)
• Mechanisms of Development: Special Issue on Collective Cell Migration (2016-2017)
• Frontiers in Physiology: Special Issue on Cranial Placodes and Neural Crest Interactions in Craniofacial Development (2019-2020)
• Vice-President, UMD Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (2019-present)
• Chair, UMD University Research Council (2020-2022)
• Member, UMD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Council (2020-2022).
• Outstanding Faculty Educator Award, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UMD (2011)
• Junior Faculty Award, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UMD (2012)
• McDaniel College Alumni Professional Achievement Award (2012)
• Advisor of the Year, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UMD (2013)
• Gamma Sigma Delta Certificate of Merit, National Capital Chapter (2014).
My lab has substantial experience investigating the cellular mechanisms and signals that regulate the anatomical development and functional integration of neural crest and placode cells, specifically the formation of the trigeminal ganglion. We take an interdisciplinary approach that combines embryology, cell and molecular biology, and biochemistry methods with cutting-edge imaging using both chick and mouse embryonic models. More recently, we are addressing the role of the peripheral nerves in sculpting the cranio- and orofacial complexes. The overarching goal of these studies is to translate our findings to humans in order to manage, reduce, and ultimately cure cranio- and orofacial disorders and other diseases.
I am a cell and developmental biologist with considerable expertise in the fields of early embryonic patterning and craniofacial biology. As a long-term member since 2011, AAA is my professional home and I would welcome the opportunity to serve on the AAA Board of Directors. Besides being a productive scientist and mentor, with a strong track record in training undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs who now have successful careers in science-related disciplines, I possess administrative and leadership skills honed through my involvement with the AAA Program Committee and my work with other societies, including the now AAA-affiliated Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology, the Society for Developmental Biology, and as the current Vice-Chair and future Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Neural Crest and Cranial Placodes. My service as a member of the Program Committee since 2017 has given me a deep appreciation of the structure of AAA, the governance role of the Board, the value of our journals, and the importance of annual and regional meetings in promoting research, education, teaching, and professional development. My goal is to ensure and broaden AAA as a recognized leader in the anatomical sciences.
Through these preceding and other service opportunities, I have had the pleasure of working with different groups of people to develop consensus across a variety of issues, including diversity, equity, and inclusion in both meeting programming and in policies that impact university research, education and culture. Transparent leadership and communication are keys to effecting change, and I have substantial experience addressing scientific and lay audiences alike. I served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Gene Drive Research in Non-Human Organisms, and was charged with not only delivering a written report on responsible conduct of research, but also briefing the public, Congress, and White House on our findings. In all of these roles, I have used leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills to meet the mission of the organization, and understand the importance of active listening to stakeholders whose needs must be fulfilled. Because of this background and experience, I am well-qualified to serve on the Board and engage the AAA membership. If elected, I promise to be a proactive Board member dedicated to advancing the anatomical sciences through research, education, and the professional development of trainees, all within the context of a diverse and inclusive environment.
Other Professional Memberships Currently Maintained: American Society for Cell Biology, FASEB, Gamma Sigma Delta, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, Society for Developmental Biology, and the Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology.