• What is your degree program and expected graduation date? Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate, May 2019
• Please describe your research: My thesis research focuses on understanding the factors that regulate the Cav1.4 Ca2+ channel in the retina.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Mutations in Cav1.4 cause several visual impairments including congenital stationary night blindness type 2. This illustrates the importance of Cav1.4 for normal vision, as well as the need to understand how Cav1.4 channels are regulated.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started participating in research during my first semester at the University of Iowa.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Conducting research at the University of Iowa has played a significant role in my development as a scientist and overall person. Research has strengthened my ability to think critically, solve problems, communicate efficiently, and multitask effectively. In addition, research at the University of Iowa has trained me to be more creative, persistent, open-minded, and courageous. I am a firm believer that success doesn’t bring happiness, but happiness brings success. Doing research at the University of Iowa has made me extremely happy, which is why I have become more successful.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? My overall goal is to become an independent researcher and role model for underrepresented minorities. Minorities face a plethora of barriers that can prevent the pursuit of higher education. Given that my own mentors have aided in the cultivation of my career and impacted its development, I want to commit to the inspiration and career development of future generation scientists.
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Amy Lee Ph.D.
• Hometown: Gainesville, Florida
• Click here for a story spotlighting Brittany Williams
Banner location: Downtown—Linn Street and Washington Street