Board Members

Chelsea Barrett, President
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

I'm from Coloma, Michigan, (a very small town in SW Michigan) and attended Gannon University (Erie, PA) for undergrad. I was initially drawn to UK by the excellent research being done in the cancer and aging fields, but after my interview, I chose UK because of the sense of community, collaborative nature, and welcoming attitude of all the students and faculty. I'm looking forward to enhancing that sense of community with the BGSO and helping to create an atmosphere that develops well rounded scientists in whatever career path they choose. Lexington has been a wonderful place to live- there is never a shortage of basketball, horses, or bourbon!! 

Alex Nail, Vice President
Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics

I am originally from Montana and came to Kentucky on an athletic scholarship to play softball for Morehead State University while majoring in Biology. I received both my bachelor’s and master’s in Biology from Morehead State University and entered the IBS program in the fall of 2013. I am in my fifth year of my Ph.D. and working in Dr. Brett Spear’s lab studying a variety of projects including evolution of Zhx proteins and sex-biased regulation of cytochrome p450 enzyme expression and regulation by antisense in liver.

Helping to start up the Biomedical Graduate Student Organization last year was an enriching and enlightening experience for me and I look forward to further developing our organization in the upcoming year. It has allowed our students to explore and prepare for future careers in biomedical research or related areas.

Jazmyne Barney, Secretary
Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, and I am beginning my third year in the Ph.D. Toxicology and Cancer Biology program. My research involves studying molecular mechanisms of nutrient-toxicant interactions to combat chronic inflammatory diseases that are worsened by environmental pollutants. I graduated from the University of Cincinnati (UC) in the spring of 2014, where I majored in Chemistry with an Africana Studies minor. After graduating from UC, I took a year off of school and went into the full-time workforce to decide what graduate degree I wanted to pursue. I was granted a job working with toxicologists at Procter and Gamble, which sparked my interest in human risk assessment and toxicology. My goal is to graduate and go back to an industry setting working as a Product Safety Toxicologist or in scientific communications. What I love about BGSO are the different committees that seek to enhance every aspect of the biomedical graduate student experience, from professional development to socializing and networking. When I am not working in the lab, I love cooking and trying new recipes with my husband Brian, taking road trips to explore different cultures and places, and serving as a leader of the Young Professionals ministry at my church.   

Kerri Beth Slaughter, Director of Committees
Department of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry

I am from Johnson City, Tennessee, and I attended Milligan College as an undergraduate.  Before my senior year of college, I participated in the NSF-REU program in Biochemistry at the University of Kentucky.  My wonderful research experience at UK convinced me to pursue a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science.  I joined UK’s IBS program in the fall of 2016, and I became a member of Becky Dutch’s lab after completing my rotations.  Each day in lab, I have the opportunity to learn more about the exciting world of viruses and also grow in community with my fellow lab members.  As Director of Committees, my goal is to facilitate collaboration across the various committees so that we can develop new events and outlets to better serve our campus and community.

Tyler Kinder, Director of IT 
Department of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry

I am from Bluefield, Virginia, a very small town in rural Appalachia. After graduating high school, I stayed in Bluefield to attend a local college to pursue a degree in applied science. During my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research, where I found my passion for science. After graduation, I joined the IBS program in 2015 and joined the lab of Dr. Rebecca Dutch in the Biochemistry department the following year. Currently my work focuses on the development of a novel therapeutic treatment for a ubiquitous respiratory virus called human metapneumovirus, which causes severe respiratory tract infection in children, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals worldwide.  I am very excited to be able to contribute to the BGSO and help graduate students get the experience and tools they need to help build successful careers.

Diane Begemann, Treasurer
Department of Toxicology & Cancer Biology

I got involved in BGSO because it's a valuable resource for graduate students and will continue to grow here at UK.  As treasurer, I manage the bank account and aid in fundraising efforts for the organization.  A major goal for 2017 is to become tax exempt, so we can increase fundraising and increase our positive impact on current, past, and future graduate students.

Jean Branttie, Co-Chair of Networking Committee 
Department of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry

I grew up in Accra, Ghana, and moved to the United States for my undergraduate education at Kentucky State University. I have always nurtured a passion for preventative medicine, and it is with this in mind that I was drawn to UK. I found that the IBS program provides an excellent curriculum, and each department delivers a collaborative and encouraging research environment that allows students to flourish.

Michael Orr, Co-Chair of Networking Committee
Department of Physiology

I am a graduate student in Dr. John Gensel's lab in the Physiology department.  My research interests broadly focus on the body's responses to central nervous system damage and their contribution to chronic damage vs. regeneration. I am the co-chair of the Networking and Social committee for the biomedical graduate student organization (BGSO), which reflects my commitment to interdisciplinary interactions as a means for mutual professional and personal development for biomedical graduate students and alumni. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, fitness, board games, basketball, and outdoor adventures with my friends, wife, and dog.

Katy Brewer, Chair of Outreach Committee 
Department of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry

I am a graduate student in Dr. Matthew Gentry’s lab in the Biochemistry Department. I am committed to the goals of the BGSO and facilitating opportunities for graduate students to engage the community through scientific outreach and service. The Outreach Committee regularly organizes educational events at local schools, recruits judges for science fairs, volunteers at charities such as the Ronald McDonald House, and participates in various community events.

Zachary Williamson, Chair of Social Committee
Department of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry

Brittani Price, Chair of Professional Development Committee 
Department of Physiology