The scientist I am today is the product of a very non-traditional education. I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia at the age of five by a kindergarten teacher who recognized my intelligence tests were inconsistent with my motor skills and my inability to read or write. In addition to regular primary school, I attended a special school to aid in reading, writing and to improve my balance, coordination, and maneuvering in crowded environments. Due to the lack of resources in high school, I was primarily assigned to self-directed learning in the sciences. I was fascinated by the physical sciences and taught myself algebra and geometry. Unfortunately, I was discouraged by teachers and my parents, and did not graduate from high school but instead completed a test for Graduate Educational Development (GED). In
university, I completed a B.Sc. in Biology and Chemistry that prepared me for graduate training in Biochemistry. These experiences have driven my efforts to break down barriers between disciplines and to explore alternative strategies for science education. Dyslexia remains a significant impediment to all activities that require reading and writing. It is diffcult for me to attend large conferences. However, my compensation mechanism for my disability is a strength; I focus on concepts and rules, and I see the whole of both simple and complex systems. This ability is the foundation of my success in interdisciplinary research projects (CFI, CIHR and NSERC funded) as well as my contributions to mentoring and teaching a diverse group of students with backgrounds in mathematics, physics, computer science, chemistry and biology.
I use an interdisciplinary approach based in cell biology and biophysics to investigate the process of spindle assembly and spindle positioning, using quantitative microscopy and computational tools to probe protein structure/function relationships within cells. A major focus is the function of intrinsically disordered regions within structured proteins, and biomolecular condensates.