Ann is a senior at Dulles High School where she was President of the Math and Science Academy, Vice President of the Science National Honors Society, and Director of Finances in Spanish Honors Society. As a founder of Fort Bend SURF, she helped Texas secure its first comprehensive and mandatory sexual education curriculum. She is also a National Merit Finalist, National AP Scholar, and AP Capstone Diploma Recipient. In her mentorship under Dr. Kjersti Aagaard MD Ph.D. and Dr. Sohini Banerjee Ph.D., she learned the importance of communicating scientific information in a way that is accessible to the general public. More than just learning professionalism, she also learned how science can be used as a tool for patient advocacy. She will take this knowledge with her to Columbia University, where she plans to study Biology and Public Health in the fall. Ultimately, she hopes to go to medical school and possibly study reproductive endocrinology, advancing reproductive health through scientific research and clinical care.
"To learn to doubt is to learn to think." - Octavio Paz
Kjersti Aagaard, MD, PhD
Sohini Banerjee, PhD
Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, an expert in maternal-fetal medicine, is the Henry and Emma Meyer Professor Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. Her research efforts have yielded groundbreaking advances in medicine and science. One example of Aagaard’s research has been in the early development of the microbiome. Dr. Sohini Banerjee is a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Aagaard's lab.
The Aagaard laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine is a maternal-fetal medicine laboratory investigating the role of the epigenome and microbiome on human health. Most prominently, their research first proposed an independent, fetal microbiome unique to maternal environments. Under the Barker hypothesis, modifications to this fetal microbiome can have consequences on adult disease and health. Chorioamnionitis is one such infection that modifies this environment. In the project “LPS, IL-1β or U.parvum-induced chorioamnionitis in primates alters inflammation and the resident microbiome,” led by Dr. Sohini Banerjee, variations in alpha and beta diversity support the previously proposed independent fetal environment as an important factor in understanding maternal-fetal disease. Future research may further characterize the role of human microbes on healthy pregnancies and infants, as well as, in a broader sense, contribute to the treatment of metabolic disease.