Undergraduate research training is a significant component of my work. Since 2018, several undergraduates have worked with me on a variety of computational projects.
Current Lab Members
- Kyle Biehl (junior at UW)
- Benjamin Romanjenko (junior at UW)
- Cailin Deiter (Research assistant at Univ. of Colorado)
- Jelard Aquino (PhD student in Bioinformatics at University of Nevada)
- Asia Williams (Dentistry program at University of Iowa)
My name is Nataly Beacham and I am a second year Molecular Biology student here at the University of Wyoming. I moved to Laramie from Georgia for school but am originally from Bogotá, Colombia. Apart from pursuing my major, I am also completing a minor in Neuroscience and am pursing a certification in American Sign Language. In the future I hope to attend medical school and aim to serve underserved and underrepresented minority populations. As a first generation daughter of an immigrant I saw firsthand the disparities in service and the fears afflicting many minority communities that struggle with language and cultural barrier. Often these fears manifest themselves as an avoidance to seek medical care, an issue I find to be extremely detrimental not only to their physical health but their ability to feel safe and provide for their families.
For my research credits, I will be working with Dr. Eunsook Park and Dr. Chhatre to develop genomics and bioinformatics skills. My project will involve a study of Arabidopsis mutants to understand genetic mechanisms underlying stromule function. We will make use of transcriptomic data generated with next generation sequencing techniques.
Samuel Fay joined my group during Summer 2020 and has been developing code for genomic data analysis. He is majoring in Computer Science at University of Michigan, but is making productive use of his downtime away from school due to the pandemic. Sam is involved in the following projects:
popadaptA R package for estimating adaptive potential of natural populations
CRISPR CRUNCHERA tool useful in identifying restriction sites upstream of the genome editing site using CRISPER-Cas9. This project was originally conceived by David Fay, a molecular biologist at University of Wyoming.
Kyle received a Wyoming INBRE summer research fellowship to develop bioinformatics skills working with me. His project was based on a meta analysis of publicly available COVID-19 data from various sources, chief among them the national census data, and COVID-19 infection and death rate data from the New York times. He implemented all analyses using the R programming environment with a special emphasis on Tidyverse family of packages.
Benjamin is a currently a junior undergraduate majoring in Microbiology. During 2019 he worked on my poplar project and was instrumental in the collection of leaf samples for DNA analysis. He simultaneously developed skills in bioinformatics data analysis while working on the poplar project. Ben was supported by an INBRE summer fellowship for his work with me. Benjamin is currently a Wyoming Research Scholar and expects to graduate in 2021.
Cailin graduated in Spring 2019 with Neuroscience major and worked primarily with Dr. Jonathan Fox. Her project involved computationally searching for infectious viruses within the transcriptomes of deceased host animals such as dogs and horses. She is currently employed as a Professional Research Assistant at UC Denver Diabetics Research Center. Cailin aspires for a career in human genetics and is now preparing to apply to those PhD programs for a Fall 2021 start.
Jelard graduated with a Physiology major in Spring 2019. He held a transition scholarship from Wyoming INBRE and the McNair scholarship. Jelard completed a bioinformatics research project with me that involved analyzing RNAseq data from published studies to gain a greater insight into the data using newly developed computational tools.
During early 2019, Jelard was awarded a Smithsonian internship to work on speciation genomics of butterflies at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. After his stint at the Smithsonian, he worked with Dr. Mira Han on estimating rates of INDEL substitutions in human genome at University of Nevada. In Fall 2020, Jelard started a bioinformatics track PhD program under Mira’s supervision at UNLV. I currently serve on Jelard’s advisory committee as an external advisor.
Asia worked on analyzing a National Immunization data set obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to understand the immunization statistics within in the lower 48 states. She leveraged her knowledge of the R programming language to understand the patterns of immunization across various age groups using this data. Asia graduated in fall 2018 and is currently working as a dentist’s assitant. She was accepted to University of Iowa Dental Professional School with full scholarship and has recently joined that program (Fall 2020).