Trainee Spotlight: Rachel Reyes, PhD
Rachel’s career in research was born in a psychology class during her undergraduate years at UC Irvine. By chance, her professor asked for volunteers to assist in a research project involving tetrachromacy—a rare condition where people can see more colors due to an extra color-processing cone cell in the eye.
“It was my first experience doing research, and I instantly fell in love with the idea of discovering something new and pursuing answers to sometimes very complicated questions,” she says.
Rachel went on to earn her PhD at USC in alcohol addiction, neuroimmunology and the gut microbiome. Today, she works with Matthew Deardorff, PhD, using CRISPR-Cas9 technology and next-generation sequencing to test different cell lines as models for genetic disorders involving intellectual disability.
“Our main goal is to identify differences and similarities in genetic patterns among chromatin regulatory proteins,” she explains. “The cell models we establish will also contribute toward developing gene-focused strategies and personalized medicine approaches for children with these conditions.”
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Rachel has a passion for art as well as science. In her free time, she loves to paint—especially watercolor paintings. Another favorite activity: playing video games on her Nintendo Switch.