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Meet your friendly immunologist

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

Hi everyone!

My name is Kara and I’m a fifth year PhD student studying microbiology and immunology. My research focuses on how the immune system responds to the Plasmodium parasite which causes the disease malaria. I’ve always had a fascination with how diseases work in the human body and how the immune system can act both as a hero and a villain depending on disease context. A lot of my blogs will focus on immunology since that’s my specific area of expertise, but I will branch out to cover other science topics as well.

I grew up on a small farm in rural Louisiana and from that I gained a love of nature, including microbes! As a kid, I read anything about bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses that I could get my hands on. My fascination with science only grew while in college and I graduated with degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, and Psychology. It was in college that I also discovered a love for research, while working on a project about local water quality that focused on the types of bacteria living in the water and how certain qualities of the water affected their growth. After graduating college, I decided to go to graduate school to further my knowledge about microbiology and immunology and that’s where I am now.

I spend a lot of time in the lab working on my research projects (I’ll talk about that more in depth in a future post) reading scientific papers, and tutoring immunology. I also teach an online Introduction to Biology course for non-majors at my alma mater. When I’m not researching in the lab I enjoy baking, painting, writing poetry, reading science fiction/fantasy novels, hiking, playing cozy games on my Nintendo Switch, and binging Netflix.

I’ve always enjoyed teaching others about science, particularly people that aren’t necessarily a part of the scientific community. Science is such a cool topic and one that should be accessible to everyone because it literally affects all of us in our everyday lives- even those of us that are not in a STEM field. From how vaccines work to how humans, other animals, plants, and fungi are all interdependent on each another. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the gap that exists between the scientific community and the general public and has made me realize I want to pursue a career in science communication. I want to help bridge that gap and educate others of how important it is for everyone, not just scientists in research labs, to appreciate and understand science.

If you have a certain topic/question you would like to see covered feel free to send me an email. I look forward to having you all join me on this journey of discovery and learning!

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