Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, I graduated from Clemson University in 2018 with a B.S. in Genetics and minors in Microbiology and Psychology. I completed Departmental and General Honors from the Clemson University Honors College and worked on a variety of research projects in my undergraduate years, including canine genetics, eukaryotic pathogens, synthetic biology, and cancer biology. I was deemed the Outstanding Senior in Genetics and awarded a Savannah River National Laboratory Scholarship for my academic achievements. I started my Ph.D. in genetics in the fall of 2018 under Dr. Trudy Mackay at the Clemson Center for Human Genetics.
Outside of research, I enjoy volunteering with the Greenwood Genetic Center Education Department by teaching genetics to members of the local community. I am an avid Clemson sports fan and also enjoy mentoring high schoolers and younger college students.
My graduate research has many aspects, but all projects involve differential expression of Drosophila melanogaster. I am interested in utilizing the fruit fly as a model organism for human disease. My current projects involve investigation into the effect of ethanol on D. melanogaster and creation of a fly model for the rare human disorder Coffin-Siris syndrome. We are using CRISPR-Cas9 in lines from the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel to look at naturally occurring predicted pathogenic variants and the resulting expression phenotype for genes implicated in human diseases. Through this research I hope to bring closure and hope to families affected by genetic disease.
Sass TN, MacPherson RA, Mackay TFC and Anholt RRH. 2020. A high-throughput method for measuring alcohol sedation time of individual Drosophila melanogaster. J Vis Exp 158: e61108. doi: 10.3791/61108.
MacPherson, R.A., Shankar, V., Sunkara, L.T. Hannah, R.C., Campbell III, M.R., Anholt, R.R.H. , Mackay, T.F.C. Pleiotropic fitness effects of the lncRNA Uhg4 in Drosophila melanogaster. BMC Genomics 23, 781 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-022-08972-0