I’m an island girl from Victoria, British Columbia. My interest in plant biology arose from a research assistant position as a plant transformation technician, which led me to pursue graduate studies. In 2010 I completed my Master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. C. Peter Constabel at the Centre for Forest Biology, University of Victoria. My research focused on the phylogenetic and molecular characterization of the polyphenol oxidase gene family in poplar. These oxidative enzymes are responsible for causing oxidative damage in fruits and vegetables but also have specialized roles such as in the biosynthesis of phenylpropaniod compounds.
My interest in plant phenolic compounds led me to the Douglas lab as part of the NSERC CREATE “Working on Walls” program, co-supervised by Dr. Jürgen Ehlting (University of Victoria). With the current rate of fossil fuel consumption, renewable, low carbon-emission energy alternatives such as biofuels will be needed. The aim of my project is to characterize a set of genes in poplar involved in secondary cell wall trait variation using various functional genomic tools; this work is as part of a larger, collaborative genetic association study to improve poplar for use as a biofuel feedstock.