Kate began working in the lab part-time in February, 2019 while she was finishing her undergraduate degree in neuroscience at Reed College in Portland, OR. The title of her senior thesis was “The Impact of Social Enrichment on a Valproic Acid Model of ASD” in which she studied the social behaviors of rats exposed to this chemical. Social enrichment was provided using a “social arena” and some animals were allowed to interact in controlled groups repeatedly while others were not. The results of this experiment suggest that social enrichment may counteract some of the abnormal behaviors observed with VPA-exposure in rats.
She started a full-time position in June, 2019 because she was immensely interested in animal models of neurodevelopmental diseases and the complex social behaviors of prairie voles studied in the lab. Today Kate assists in designing experiments, performing surgeries, and managing the vole colony's data. Currently she is studying young-adult sleep disruption in the prairie voles and analyzing its impact on social and stereotypical behaviors.
When she is not immersed in her research, Kate likes to spend her free time exploring the forests and mountains in the Pacific Northwest, digitally painting on her iPad, and taking advantage of all the happy hours Portland has to offer. She also misses her hometown in Chicago (and deep dish pizza!) and visits as often as possible. She has two kitties, Big Lady (right) and Teeny Man (left), and a wonderful life-partner, Cannon (with Teeny man). They listen to all of her crazy science thoughts and make her day-to-day work life possible.