Rachel Zarndt is a graduate student in biomedical sciences at UC San Diego and in 2014 successfully completed the program requirements of the Anthropogeny Specialization. Rachel’s research aims to determine novel genetic pathways underlying physiologic adaptations to hypoxia through an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach. Using a unique population of hypoxia-adapted fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), she investigates key genetic pathways underlying physiologic response of the heart during low oxygen exposure. This research is unraveling completely novel molecular interactions occurring during either acute or chronic hypoxia, and altered after multi-generational adaptation. Further, Rachel aims to determine the relevance of these findings to human high altitude adaptations, particularly through use of recent genetic screens and samples from Asia, South America, and Africa. For lowland dwellers, findings from this research may determine whether medical intervention can alleviate symptoms in maladaptive humans who struggle to acclimatize or show signs of altitude illness.