Tessa Popay

Tessa Popay

Kiaora! My name is Tessa and I have come to Nashville from Aotearoa, New Zealand. At the end of 2013 I completed my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science (Honours) specializing in Biomedical Science, at the University of Auckland.

Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, I was researching the effects of anesthesia on the circadian rhythm using transgenic Drosophila melanogaster, an investigation that has the potential to help us understand, and eventually treat, post-operative sleep-disruption in humans.

At the start of 2013 I came to Vanderbilt for two months as part of the Vanderbilt International Summer Research Academy. During this time I worked in the Blakely lab helping to identify genes involved in the transport of dopamine in Caenorhabditis elegans. This was a fantastic and inspiring opportunity for me, and one that I enjoyed immensely. Such a positive experience was a huge factor in my decision to pursue my PhD at Vanderbilt – the support systems in place and organization of the program is unparalleled to any other universities I considered. Nashville has such a different culture compared to what I am used to in New Zealand, and I am looking forward to immersing myself in it for the next few years.

Having finished my first year of graduate school at Vanderbilt, I decided to join the lab of Dr. William Tansey in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. There I’m working to characterize the complexes in which the oncoprotein Myc resides. Myc is commonly overexpressed in cancer, and thus, understanding how and why it interacts with other proteins can give key insight into the disease and potential treatments.

Outside of science, soccer is perhaps my biggest pastime, and a sport I have played regularly for almost 18 years and hope to continue playing for many more. Aside from soccer, my other hobbies include hiking, cycling, running, cooking, and cats.