Hi, my name is Laura Simone, and I entered UPGG in 2010 after receiving my BS in Molecular Biology from Montclair State University. As an undergraduate I had the opportunity to do research in the biochemistry department at my own school as well as summer research internships at the University of Florida, UC San Francisco ... and Duke! These experiences solidified my decision to attend graduate school and allowed me to confidently start my PhD immediately after college. I chose UPGG because of the wide variety of research being done by faculty affiliated with the program. This was important to me because I was unsure of exactly what I wanted to study, and I was sure that with so many options I was bound to find something that I loved. During the summer I did an early rotation in Joe Heitmanís lab where I studied the calcium-calcineurin pathway in Cryptococcus gattii, and I am currently rotating in Ashley Chiís lab studying Plasmodium falciparum.
Duke is a great place to be for activities outside of lab. My favorite part of the campus is the gym. I taught yoga and Pilates all through college, so being able to keep my favorite stress relievers (for free!) is great. Off campus, Durham is a lively city with plenty of concerts in the summer and tons of great restaurants and pubs. Itís also just a few short hours from the mountains or beautiful NC beaches. (Although if you grew up on the Jersey Shore like me [no I donít have a poof, accent or tan and I donít fist pump] the beach seems like an eternity away.) If you donít feel like driving that far to see water there are lake beaches, rivers and a swimming quarry right here in Durham! So far itís a great place to live.