Isabel BakerGraduate Student
Current Position: Research Biologist
Izzy joined our lab through the OEB graduate program based on her interest in the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which a single cell is transformed into a complex body with specialized compartments, and how this process has changed since multicellularity first emerged on Earth.
She began pursuing her interests in development as a student assistant in Diane Krause‘s lab at the Yale Stem Cell Center, where she worked with a graduate student to investigate the genetic determinants behind hematopoietic stem cell differentiation. Then, when she studied abroad in Tel Aviv as an undergrad at New York University, she conducted an independent research project in Uri Gophna‘s lab in the Tel Aviv University Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, where she did a bioinformatic analysis on the role of personal ancestry in disease phenotype. When she arrived back in New York, Izzy began doing research in Stephen Small‘s lab in the NYU Center for Developmental Genetics. Here, she employed computational and experimental approaches to develop a model of the genetic cis-regulatory network underpinning body organization in early fruit fly development.
In our lab, Izzy began her PhD with an interest in unveiling how segment generation and formation is achieved during cricket embryogenesis in the hopes of gaining a more thorough understanding of the exciting world of bilaterian body plan evolution. She then realized that her interests lay in understanding the principles of microbial and geochemistry that had contributed to the environment in the Cambrian period, when most extant body plan complexity first evolved. She therefore transferred to the lab of Peter Girguis and completed a successful PhD thesis investigating the ecophysiology of iron-fixing marine bacteria. Izzy is currently a Research Biologist in the US Naval Research Laboratory.