Joining the Szpara lab represents a bit of a homecoming for me, as I completed my B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State in 2007. My undergraduate research was conducted in Michael Teng's lab, focusing on the non-structural proteins of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). I then moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for my PhD studies, studying herpesvirus biology with Rob Kalejta. During my dissertation, I investigated the ability of herpesvirus-encoded kinases to mimic cellular cyclin-dependent kinases and the relevance of this activity to viral replication. Following my graduation from the University of Wisconsin in 2014, I conducted a brief postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin with Chris Sullivan. In the Sullivan lab, I worked towards discovery of viral microRNAs (miRNAs) as well as the contributions of miRNAs to the innate immune response.
When I'm not in lab, you'll probably find me tending to my pets, exploring craft beer,or trying to sneak off to the gold course.