864-889-0519 chg@clemson.edu

Graduate Student

Email: bb2@clemson.edu


I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Psychology. My undergraduate research focused on isolating miDNA to identify markers for species identification in different species of flesh flies. I started graduate school at NC State University in 2015 under Dr. Trudy Mackay and relocated with her to the Clemson Center for Human Genetics in 2018. Outside of my research, I have many interests including playing and watching any sports, board games, and helping others set and reach their goals.


My research utilizes a systems genetics approach to consumption of cocaine and methamphetamine in Drosophila melanogaster. Utilizing the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP) I am identifying genes that are associated with increased consumption and preference for cocaine and methamphetamine. I also investigate gene expression changes across the genome following exposure to cocaine and methamphetamine using standard RNA sequencing and at single-cell resolution. Findings from this research can serve as a contextual framework for future studies in humans.


Highfill CA, Baker BM, Stevens SD, Anholt RRH and Mackay TFC. 2019. Genetics of cocaine and methamphetamine consumption and preference in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genet 15: e1007834. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007834.