I am a PhD student in the UCSD Department of Biomedical Sciences, working with Drs. Alysson Muotri & Keolu Fox to explore brain development from an evolutionary perspective. Just as ancient DNA sequencing technologies have begun to reveal the genetic makeup of our extinct relatives, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, breakthroughs have similarly occurred in the fields of genome engineering (e.g. CRISPR/Cas9) and stem cell modeling of neurodevelopment (e.g. brain organoids). Our research seeks to combine these three technologies in order to explore the genetic and biological features underlying the presumed uniqueness of the human brain.
In addition to the scientific side of anthropogeny, I am also deeply interested in the societal implications and importances of studying anthropogeny. I believe such efforts and the fruits they yield will provide significant perspective as humanity charts its way into a future that is increasingly divergent from the past in which Homo sapiens initially emerged.