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About Our Writers

Our A-BOM writers are a collection of students, scientists, and educators who are highly interested in adapting scientific writings to lay language for all to understand and appreciate.

The A-BOM Staff Writers

Barbara O’Brien, Ph.D

Ph.D in Neuroscience

Vanderbilt University

About Barbara
Barbara O’Brien is a recent graduate of the Neuroscience doctoral program at Vanderbilt University, where she studied the genetics of sensory neuron development and morphology. She earned her bachelor of science degree in biology and psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle and has experience working in labs researching motor systems, sensory systems, and learning and memory in various animal models. She is passionate about communicating science and scientific studies to the general public, particularly to patients and families so they know about the latest research and scientific progress for diseases. She currently resides in Houston, TX, with her husband, who studies lung cancer genetics at The University of Texas Health Science Center, and her cats, who study bird and squirrel behavior at The Living Room Window.
Barbara Bailus, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher

Buck Institute for Research

About Barbara
Dr. Bailus is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Ellerby lab at The Buck Institute for Research on Aging. She is an expert on gene editing enzymes and Angelman syndrome. Dr. Bailus received her PhD from the University of California, Davis, in Genetics with a double emphasis in Biotechnology and Translational Research. Her doctoral work focused on creating gene editing therapeutics for Angelman syndrome.

During her graduate career she was the recipient of both a National Science Foundation Fellowship and a Howard Hughes Integrating Medicine in Basic Science Fellowship. Her current research focuses on genetic editing for neurodegenerative diseases and understanding the regulatory pathways involved in Huntington’s disease.

Tim Halbesma

Neuroscience Student

Vanderbilt University

About Tim
Tim Halbesma is from Oswego, IL and is finishing up at Vanderbilt University, where he’ll earn a bachelor’s in neuroscience and a minor in Spanish. He’s completing senior thesis research at Vanderbilt and really wants to develop the important skill of communicating complex scientific ideas. He develops this skill by teaching science lessons at Nashville middle schools and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital—and of course by writing for ABOM. Eventually, Tim hopes to make it on to medical school, but in the meantime he is looking forward to exploring interests and other opportunities.

Tim has seen ABOM get started and grow, and he is really excited about all that the alliance will continue to do and is grateful to be a small part of it.

Lorena Infante Lara

Ph.D Candidate (Biochemistry)

Vanderbilt University

About Lorena
Lorena was born and raised in Mexico City, but has lived in six cities in four different countries, finally moving to the U.S. when she was in high school. She obtained a B.S. in Biology from Georgetown University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University. Lorena works in the lab of Neil Osheroff, where she focus on characterizing oligonucleotide-based topoisomerase II poisons against human type II topoisomerases. She enjoys doing research and figuring out biological puzzles, but  also has a passion for communicating science. She became more heavily involved in writing about science after taking a short class offered at Vanderbilt, Biomedical Research and the Media. Since then, she has been writing for general and scientific audiences through various on campus newsletters (VUMC Reporter, Results and Discussions, BioVU) and off campus publications (A-BOM Reports, NIH ExRNA Blog, Science Center).

Thanks to her efforts, Lorena was awarded a spot as one of the 2017 Spanish Language AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellows. She spent the summer writing for the online news division of Univision Noticias, communicating scientific discoveries to general audiences.

When not in lab or writing articles, she can be found rock climbing, playing soccer, or playing board games with friends, probably while sampling new kinds of craft beer.

Natalie Allen

B.A. Cultural Anthropology

Reed College

About Natalie
Natalie Allen is a recent graduate of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she studied cultural anthropology. At Reed she wrote her thesis about the performance of climate change denial in the U.S. Senate. Now she is excited to be turning her attention to medical science and contributing to the great project of science literacy. 
Tyne Miller-Fleming, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Neuroscience

Vanderbilt University

About Tyne
Tyne is a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Nancy Cox at Vanderbilt University. In her current role, she uses statistical and computational tools to better understand the human genome and the genetic basis of disease. She attended Purdue University where she earned a bachelor of science in biology. After her undergraduate studies, Tyne worked as a research assistant, studying metastasis and signaling pathways in cultured cancer cells. This experience sparked her passion for the scientific process and led her to attend graduate school at Vanderbilt University. In 2016, Tyne earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience, investigating the genetic pathways that regulate synaptic proteins.

Tyne has always had an insatiable curiosity for science and loves sparking this curiosity in others through teaching, mentoring, writing, and public speaking. Outside of the lab, Tyne is an avid Harry Potter fan. She enjoys traveling with her husband and snuggling her two dogs.

Kristen Nordham

Neuroscience Student

Vanderbilt University

About Kristen

Kristen Nordham is a senior at Vanderbilt University, working on finishing studies in neuroscience and French. Kristen began research experience in high school at nearby UCLA, where she worked in a neurogenetics laboratory studying the genetics of autism. This experience inspired Kristen to find a spot in research at Vanderbilt, and she has been studying Huntington’s Disease and is currently working on a senior honors project. 

Outside of class, Kristen volunteers at the Vanderbilt Hospital, and helps organize an annual bone marrow registry at Vanderbilt, and enjoys talking about health and science issues outside of the classroom or lab setting.  

After undergrad, Kristen hopes to use her research and science experience in medical school and beyond. 

Sarah Jurgensmeyer

B.S. Cognitive Studies

Vanderbilt University

About Sarah

Sarah is a 2016 graduate of Vanderbilt University where she obtained her B.S. in Cognitive Studies and Medicine, Health, & Society, with a minor in Neuroscience. During her time as an undergraduate, she researched in the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Prader-Willi Syndrome Lab and wrote her honors thesis on the various factors affecting the psychosocial outcomes for caregivers of people with PWS.

After college, Sarah worked with the Arc on disability advocacy efforts before spending a year in South Africa as a Fulbright Scholar. She now works in Nashville as a Research Analyst at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, working in both the Kennedy Center and the Undiagnosed Diseases Network. Sarah hopes to get her M.S. in Genetic Counseling. She is the proud big sister of two brothers, one with Angelman Syndrome, and has been actively involved in special needs community for most of her life.

If you’re interested in writing reviews for A-BOM, email for more details.