Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?
Forensic research has always been a big passion of mine. To pursue this passion, I applied for PhD positions in various locations around the world, hoping to get the opportunity to work with a leading professor in the field. I had a particular interest with bioinformatics, and since Dr. Susan Walsh’s research involved bioinformatics with forensic applications, I was honored when she asked me to join her lab at IUPUI. Here, I can be creative while working with cutting edge research. Although the move from Germany to the United States in 2020 was a big change, and especially challenging with the COVID-19 pandemic, the IUPUI community and my lab group has become my home away from home.
What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?
Presenting at the 29th Congress of the International Society for Forensic Genetics (ISFG) has been a highlight academic accomplishment. The ISFG is one of the largest forensic genetics conferences, so I was honored to be accepted as one of the 60 oral presentations. It was exhilarating and terrifying to present to over 700 colleagues, but my presentation was shortlisted for best presentation, and I was awarded a travel fellowship to attend more conferences. This conference was a coveted learning experience and opportunity to network with other students and leading experts in the field.
What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?
For me, it’s the people! Since moving here, everyone has been incredibly kind. There is always someone willing to help you out when you need it, join you on exploring the city, and to make sure you never feel alone
Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.
My research focuses on discovering the genetic background behind human facial shape. I work mainly on developing new methods for image processing that aid in the identification of genes that play a role in how we look. I work in collaboration with research labs all over the world and had the opportunity to travel to Belgium to learn from our partner lab there. When I am not in the lab, I volunteer at the Indianapolis Zoo, was part of the Biology Graduate Organization, and I am currently learning ASL.