PhD Candidate – Started Fall 2013

Hometown: Iowa City, IA

Advisor/Lab: Jaehyuk Yu

Research Interests:I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of metabolic degradation of the environmental contaminant and carcinogen, benzo(a)pyrene, by Aspergillus sp.,  a genus of soil dwelling filamentous fungi.

Undergraduate Work

(2005-2008) University of Iowa, BA in Communication Studies
(2012-2013) University of Washington, prerequisite classes


I love the great outdoors! I like hiking, camping, traveling and exploring. I also enjoy spending time at home with my family and dogs.

Reason I joined METC 

I think understanding human disease is a very important area of research, including understanding and regulating environmental exposures and understanding and mitigating biological effects. UW-Madison is a great university, with a lot of helpful resources, and the METC program is composed of a very supportive group of people. This type of environment is ideal for me to learn how to successfully and productively do research

Current Research

In the lab of Jae-Hyuk Yu, we study the molecular mechanisms that control growth and development of the filamentous fungi, Aspergillus. My research focuses on the ability of these fungi to degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs), which are a group of soil contaminants. Because fungi are saprophytes, they have the ability to use a diverse array of carbon sources for energy, yet the molecular mechanisms of these metabolic processes have been largely understudied.


Fuja, Tannin J., Ostrem, Erin M., Probst-Fuja, Megan N., Titze, Ingo R. “Differential Cell Adhesion to Vocal Fold Extracellular Matrix Constituents.” Matrix Biology 25 (2006) 240-251.