is a doctoral student in the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (EEB) subprogram of the CUNY Biology PhD Program. Corinna graduated cum laude
from the Macaulay Honors College at Queens College, CUNY in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. She went on to earn a Masters of Science in Biology the following year from Chatham University (Pittsburg, PA). Corinna expects to earn her doctoral degree in spring 2017 with the help of The Graduate Center’s Mina Rees Dissertation Fellowship awarded to her for 2016-2017. Corinna has received additional grants and fellowships from the Hudson River Foundation, The Graduate Center, and Queens College, CUNY, which she notes have helped immensely in supporting her research.
Studying in Dr. Nathalia Holtzman’s zebrafish laboratory at Queens College, Corinna explores the impacts of toxins on fish embryonic development, growth and survival. Using zebrafish, a common lab model organism, and Atlantic sturgeon, an endangered native fish, it is possible to study how toxins such as PCBs and TCDDs found in local waterways affect these animals. The current data suggest that these toxins not only alter the gross morphology of embryos, but they also cause striking heart defects as well as perturbations in both liver and pancreas development. Interestingly, the response of the heart to toxin exposure is highly conserved in the evolutionarily divergent zebrafish and sturgeon. Corinna has presented some of her findings at a variety of conferences and meetings, including two recent platform presentations at the national conference of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and at the 2016 Northeast Society for Developmental Biology Regional meeting.
Besides applying herself as a scientist, Corinna feels strongly that all science should be made available to others. She notes that she has been fortunate to have strong mentors and is therefore passionate about carrying forward the benefits of her education and these mentoring relationships. Corinna has been teaching science to non-science majors for six years, and she has mentored numerous high school and undergraduate students in the laboratory, many of whom have continued in their scientific endeavors. Corinna has also participated in the Macaulay Alumni Mentoring Program, sharing experiences of her college career to current undergraduates. She is an active member in SETAC’s Career Development Committee and the Buddy System sub-committee, working with others to ensure that budding scientists have the best resources to succeed.
Corinna hopes to help bridge the gaps between laboratory and applied science. As a student, Corinna has pursued this goal in the ways described above (teaching and speaking at conferences) and by participating in science communication courses, attending community forums on PCBs’ impacts on the Hudson River, and protesting against the end to dredging of the Hudson River. Whether she chooses to serve as a scientific publisher helping to guide the direction of science discovery, or serves as an environmental consultant utilizing current research to develop methods for environmental improvement projects, or devotes her time to educating non-scientists in current scientific topics, Corinna will undoubtedly find a suitable path for making substantive contributions to the scientific community and to the public at large.
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