I studied for a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography and an MRes in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth and the Marine Biological Association. Here, I developed a strong interest in the evolution of early branching metazoans and the application of genetic and molecular approaches to understand evolution and developmental biology.
During my undergraduate degree I took a year out to pursue a 6-month placement at the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology in Bergen, Norway. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Rentzsch group throughout my placement, who are interested in the evolution and development of the nervous system in the model sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. I am very privileged to have gained first-hand experience in advanced molecular techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas9, which really developed my interest in molecular biology.
My Masters thesis used comparative proteomic approaches to look at the evolution of endosymbiosis in sea anemones, with a particular focus on the differences in the metabolic capacities of symbiotic and non-symbiotic species. I have enjoyed learning more about gene ontology and phylogeny during my Masters, and I am excited to combine my laboratory and bioinformatic skills during my PhD.