SOAR Student Profiles
- SOAR Position: Scholars Week Ambassador
- Major: Biochemistry
- Faculty Mentor(s): Jamie Burriss and Dr. Rebecca Seipelt- Thiemann
Current Focus: Detecting Estrogen Pollution in the Stones River Watershed
Project DescriptionMy research focuses primarily on the detection of estrogen and how this affects biodiversity in the Stones River Watershed. Estrogen enters the ecosystem in various ways, but the most common method is through the dairy and livestock industry. Estrogen is put into the feed and in such produces estrogen-rich animal waste. This waste enters the surrounding soil and waterways, which can lead to many complications in aquatic life and root growth within the soil. There is also many other effects of estrogen, but because estrogen has such a small half-life, there is not a lot of research done. This is why in my research, I am testing seven bacteria biomarkers and five estrogen metabolism genes to determine the extent of estrogen pollution in our local Stones River Watershed.
Why does this topic interest you?This topic is extremely interesting to me because I am very passionate about the unseen harm that lies in everyday views such as a lakes, parks, or creeks. I think analyzing and understanding why things occur and where they come from to be fascinating. Estrogen pollution can be linked to what a farmer decides to feed their animals, and can affect something as small as soil microbial communities. I am very passionate about making environmentally conscious choices and understanding how everyday choices can affect the biodiversity that surrounds us.
What are your professional aspirations?My aspiring career is in the field of pharmaceutical development. After receiving my bachelors degree in biochemistry from MTSU, I plan to go on and get my masters degree in pharmacology and later on my Ph. D in pharmacology. After a lot of schooling, my main aspiration is to run my own lab with a goal in spreading support for women in STEM.
Do you have any advice for future researchers?My advice to future researchers is to not be afraid of your professors! I know it seems intimidating to walk up to them, but truly they want to help you and are eager to talk about their research. If you enjoy taking a class with a specific professor, I encourage you to ask about what research they are conducting. If they do not have room for you, chances are they will recommend another lab to you. And finally, research is supposed to be fun, so don't worry if things don't go completely as planned!