What brought you to the Coon lab and UW-Madison?
Before coming to graduate school I was interested in drug discovery—probing diseases and disease mechanisms. As I got deeper into this work I came to find we understand little of the underlying biology. That’s how I became interested in mass spectrometry, as a tool for profiling what’s happening in metabolites, and seeing different protein expressions or differences in gene regulation, for example. I came to the Coon Lab to learn more about how MS could be applied to these biological problems. In fact I was fortunate enough to work in the lab over the summer on a Vitamin D project, which helped me envision being here for my PhD research as well.
From a lab culture perspective, even from the visitation weekend I noticed how happy and talkative the group is. There are a lot of driven people here, but everyone understands that the research produced by the lab will be better with everyone working together and seeing themselves as part of the bigger picture. It’s an ideal environment to work in. Madison has also been great. It’s a super friendly and livable city—I couldn’t be happier here.
“There are a lot of driven people here, but everyone understands that the research produced by the lab will be better with everyone working together and seeing themselves as part of the bigger picture.”
What kind of work are you interested in doing in the future?
I’m just starting to get involved in a bigger metabolomics project called H3K. The goal is to correlate unknown gene function to known gene function. As a first year, I’m undecided between a career in industry or academia, but one thing that is great for graduates of the Coon lab is that they have either option open to them when they graduate. That kind of flexibility is something that I really value
Earn your Ph.D. with us
The Coon Group is always on the lookout for new members. Professor Coon accepts students from several UW-Madison doctoral programs including Chemistry, the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), and Cellular & Molecular Pathology.