During my PhD research in Applied Physics at Cornell University, I used fluorescence microscopy and x-ray scattering techniques to study the fundamental physics governing the dynamic structure of nucleic acids. My thesis work built off of my background in physics and engineering, but it ignited a new interest in developing measurement tools and instruments for biological applications.
In 2016, I joined the BE faculty to teach 20.309: Instrumentation & Measurement for Biological Systems, where I could share my expertise designing, building, and troubleshooting biological instrumentation with the incredible students at MIT. In the spring of 2019, while continuing to contribute to 20.309, I joined the Manalis lab as a Research Scientist, studying the biophysical properties of single cancer cells, and advancing novel measurement approaches to investigate tumor initiation, progression and metastasis.
20.309 is a class that gives students practical experience building scientific instruments and using these instruments to make quantitative measurements of biological systems. I believe that there is no substitute for hands-on laboratory work in making connections between theoretical concepts and the real world. The lab is also a great place for students to learn how to productively collaborate and communicate with their peers – an invaluable skill wherever their careers may take them. My goal as an instructor is to provide guidance and mentorship in order to enable students to overcome hurdles and solve problems by asking the right questions.