While I was growing up I always loved math and puzzles. Perhaps the most difficult puzzle of all is how a cell works. Cells take millions of puzzle pieces and put them together to survive. For some bacteria they have to do it every 20 minutes!
At high school in Australia I did an all math and science curriculum and had found that I was fascinated with biology and figuring out how cells worked. I was especially interested in microbiology and genetics as it let's us ask important questions like:
- How do we learn from microbes about disease states and general metabolism?
- How do we change cells to grow under different conditions?
- What can this tell us about curing diseases?
At university I become more and more interested in how to use microbes to understand metabolism of humans and how it might teach us about diseases. After getting a Ph.D. in microbiology I moved to United States in 2002 and worked at the University of Utah School of Medicine before moving to Auburn to become a Professor in 2008.
My research laboratory does experiments to figure out how cells keep essential elements in balance. These experiments try to understand how a microbe can keep all the puzzle pieces organized to survive under all different conditions.