Abby earned her PhD at the Medical College of Wisconsin studying the structure and function of clostridial neurotoxins in the lab of Joseph Barbieri. She did her postdoctoral fellowship with Suzanne Fleiszig at UC Berkeley in the School of Optometry, where she developed her imaging skills to study the contact-lens associated pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and also become immersed in the cornea, contact lens, and vision science communities. She now investigates the role of toxins used by bacteria while colonizing corneal tissue. As an external and clear organ, the cornea presents a unique opportunity for simplified intravital imaging methods and single-cell imaging, allowing her and the lab to ask basic questions about host-pathogen biology and aid in solving vision-threatening problems.
Abby is from rural Wisconsin and spent much of her childhood planning to become an artist or maybe have a nice office job. A few influential teachers set her on a course to take microbiology halfway through college, from which there was no turning back. As a first gen college student, she is interested in continuing to ask (and now occasionally answer) naive questions about how science careers work.
Outside the lab, Abby enjoys caring for an extensive plant collection, scouring antique and thrift shops for unusual home decor, and learning to make challenging recipes. She aspires to take up kayaking and foster infant kittens (not simultaneously).