Past Research

I joined the Hill Lab at Western University in January 2010 to nocturnal behaviour in a mouse model of premature aging and neurodegeneration. I joined Dr Anita Prtenjaca during her PhD looking at the behavioural effects of chronic low-dose application of phenobarbital on the harlequin mouse, an animal deficient in apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF).

I continued in the lab for my MSc (defended 2014) under the supervision of Dr Kathleen Hill. My thesis (Somatic copy number mosaicism contributes to genomic diversity in Mus musculus) focused on identifying hotspots for copy number variants (CNVs) that differed between two somatic tissues within the same mouse and developing methods to analyze these variants.

During this time I also studied radiation-induced DNA damage in songbirds in collaboration with Thom Luloff (now a professor at Fleming College). We discovered that house sparrows and song sparrows differed in plasma profiles of an indicator of DNA damage following an acute dosage of ionizing radiation, with house sparrows showing an increase in adduct concentration several days after treatment despite not receiving any more radiation. Published here in Environmental Molecular Mutagenesis (2011).

Along the CNV line of research, I worked with Dr Christina Castellani (now a postdoc at Johns Hopkins) during her PhD looking at CNV calling algorithms using data from monozygotic human twins discordant for schizophrenia, published here in BMC Bioinformatics (2014).

My thesis research contributed to our overarching efforts to identify and characterize autosomal structural variants in laboratory mice using high-resolution microarray technology. Through bioinformatic analysis, we explored the genomic differences among various inbred laboratory strains of mice, as well as wild-caught and wild-derived mice, and published the results here in BMC Genomics (2015).