About McKensie Daugherty

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So far McKensie Daugherty has created 11 blog entries.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Kathleen McAllister

This month’s Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Kathleen McAllister! A Biology student in the Sorg Lab, Kathleen studies C. difficile and helped develop the CRISPR-Cas9 modification system in order to study this fascinating organism.

I’m from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, specifically from St. Martin which is a small community on the Gulf Coast. I’ve always been eager to learn, starting when I was little playing “school” with my sister and her friends. I’ve also always had a passion to help people. My life goal was to be able to do both. I earned my bachelor’s in Biomedical […]

2017-11-15T09:14:24+00:00 November 15th, 2017|Categories: Graduate Student Spotlight|Tags: , |

Graduate Student Spotlight: Ananya Dasgupta

This month’s Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Ananya Dasgupta.  A graduate student in the Sachs lab, Ananya studies how nonsense mediated mRNA decay pathways help cells remove aberrant transcripts to stay healthy.


Nomoshkar! That is how we greet back home in Kolkata. It is a culturally diverse, highly populated and a city adorned with historical heritage in the eastern part of India. I have completed my schooling through my Master’s in my hometown. Being in Microbiology Honors for my bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Calcutta, a centenarian, I had enough exposure to the world […]

2017-10-27T12:01:50+00:00 October 27th, 2017|Categories: Graduate Student Spotlight|Tags: , |

Faculty Spotlight: Heath Blackmon

This month’s Faculty Spotlight highlights Dr. Heath Blackmon.  An Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, Dr. Blackmon uses beetles to study evolutionary biology, particularly genome evolution.

Heath Blackmon received his B.S. in Environmental Science from Oregon State University in 2010.  He then began work on his Ph.D. at the University of Texas in Arlington where he studied genome evolution in invertebrates.  While at UT Arlington he built a database of invertebrate karyotypes containing over 15,000 species.  He completed his Ph.D. in 2015 and moved to the University of Minnesota.  In Minnesota Heath collaborated with […]

2017-10-11T10:44:14+00:00 October 10th, 2017|Categories: Faculty Spotlight|Tags: , |

Graduate Student Spotlight: Sarah Beagle

This Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Sarah Beagle. A Biology Graduate student in the Lockless Lab, and an avid Kansas fan, Sarah studies K+ channels in the bacteria E. coli.

I’m from Auburn, Kansas-a small town just outside of Topeka. As a kid, I really loved animals of all kinds, and I had these extremely elaborate plans to try to convince my parents to let me bring home a wildly diverse set of animals as pets. I pitched them everything from a horse to a Komodo dragon as a pet. Those plans were surprisingly unsuccessful, but […]

2017-11-14T17:06:42+00:00 October 9th, 2017|Categories: Graduate Student Spotlight, Uncategorized|Tags: , |

Graduate Student Spotlight: Kushan Gunawardhana

This Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Kushan Gunawardhana.  A graduate student in Dr. Paul Hardin’s lab, Kushan generated the first adult mutants of a vrille lethal gene mutant in Drosophila, and works in the Biological Clocks field for his research.

I grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka (the tiny pearl of the Indian Ocean). My high school days was where I developed a strong interest towards biology and from there on continued to pursue a career in it. I have a BS in Bioinformatics from University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, during which I worked with Arabidopsis […]

2017-09-28T08:46:34+00:00 September 28th, 2017|Categories: Graduate Student Spotlight|Tags: , |

SPRC 2017

The Biology Department hosted the annual Student & Postdoc Research Conference, or SPRC, on September 23rd, 2017. Students and Postdoc’s had the opportunity to present their research with Posters, DataBlitzes, and 8 selected Talks for their colleagues.


The first Talks session began with the first 4 speakers, with MC Jennifer Jung.

Marko Baloh, “Determining the role of the spoVAD and spoVAE genes in DPA release during Clostridium difficile spore germination.”

Sarah Beagle, “A physiological role for the kch K+ channel in E. coli.”


2017-09-26T10:01:56+00:00 September 26th, 2017|Categories: News|

Graduate Student Spotlight: Allison Wilkes

This Graduate Student Spotlight highlights Allison Wilkes, a Marine Biology student who studies marine fish and their endocrinology.  Allison uses red drum as a model for the thyroid endocrine system to learn how they obtain iodine from their environment.

Allison is a PhD candidate in the Marine Biology Interdisciplinary Program and is housed in the Department of Biology. She has a B.A. from the University of Tennessee and a M.S. from the University of West Florida. Her previous research has included fruit fly genetics, echinoderm bioluminescent physiology, […]

2017-09-18T09:59:30+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Categories: Graduate Student Spotlight|Tags: , |

3rd Annual Department of Biology Kickball Game

The 3rd Annual Department of Biology Kickball game was held on September 1st, 2017 at Tanglewood Park.

The Faculty and Staff team, the “Mighty Chondria” vs the Graduate Student team, the “Chloro Blasts” faced off in the annual competition for bragging rights to the Kickball Championship.

The cookout commenced at 6pm, with Grill masters Will Bailey and Vick Valero serving up burgers and hotdogs.

Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students mingled and ate before the game.


2017-09-06T12:38:00+00:00 September 6th, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , |

Graduate Student Spotlight: Rahamthulla Shaik

Up next in the Graduate Student Spotlight, we highlight Dr. Rahamthulla Shaik, who recently defended his dissertation, “Chloroplast division protein ARC3: Effects on FtsZ2 assembly GTPase activity”.

I grew up in a small town near Hyderabad, India. While I was in high school, I became very interested in life sciences and my teachers encouraged me further to pursue biological sciences. I received my BS and MS degrees in Biology in India and then moved to USA for further graduate studies. I pursued MS in Biotechnology at West Virginia State University. During this program, I had an […]

2017-08-09T08:34:09+00:00 August 9th, 2017|Categories: Graduate Student Spotlight|Tags: , |

Faculty Spotlight: Mike Smotherman

This month’s Faculty Spotlight highlights Dr. Mike Smotherman.  An Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Chair for Texas A&M’s Institute for Neuroscience (TAMIN), Dr. Smotherman uses bats to study neuroethology in animals with unique or exceptional behaviors.

Mike Smotherman received his B.S. in Biology from Occidental College in 1989. While at Occidental Mike logged over 1000 hours at sea working on the R/V Vantuna as a research technician and marine biology instructor. After graduating he worked as an environmental engineer for a year before deciding to pursue graduate studies. He earned an M.S. in […]

2017-08-08T09:11:06+00:00 August 8th, 2017|Categories: Faculty Spotlight|Tags: , |