Brae Petersen

Brae Petersen

Year Entered

Farmington, Utah, USA

Undergraduate Degree
Brigham Young University - Idaho, BS, 2015

Research Group

Current Research Focus
I work on developing new bio-analytical assays to study single cells. My research focuses on connecting the phenotype to the genotype and gene expression of single cells. I use chemical cytometry to measure the enzyme activity of signaling kinases from a cell lysate while at the same time collecting and depositing DNA and RNA from that lysate to well plates for single cell sequencing. The goal of the project is to apply this technology to learn more about chemotherapy resistance in the different sub-populations of tumor cells in pancreatic cancer.

Short Bio
Over the course of my undergrad work I got an immersive experience in analytical chemistry research in Dr. Collins research group at BYU-Idaho. From my freshman to senior year I worked developing a simultaneous two-dimensional separation technique that used thin-layer chromotography and an orthogonal electric field to separate small compounds. The experience exposed me to the challenge of research, and directed my interests to analytical chemistry.

Why did you choose UNC Chemistry?
UNC Chapel Hill has a strong analytical chemistry program, with several professors I wanted to work with. I chose UNC Chapel Hill over other schools because several research projects here have a focus on developing new tools and methods for biology research, there was a good relationship between professors and the students, and every project had fruitful collaborations across the campus.

What are your future plans?
I enjoy the research here too much I don't want to leave it behind at the 5 year mark! But seeing the different paths PhD Alumni have chosen makes the steps after graduation exciting to take. My general plan is to continue doing cutting edge research in biotechnology, wherever I find most rewarding. I find the prospect of using what I have learned in my PhD to direct my own project as a post-doc or as a scientist at a research institute very appealing. I am also attracted to the process and challenges involved in the development of a start up in bio-technology. I feel comfortable that what I am doing and learning during my PhD will make me competitive for the careers I am interested in.