A Research Project for the Birds
Though she found her job “through a happy coincidence,” it’s clear that the power of the Hamilton alumni-student network and a palpable enthusiasm for biology led Amelia Boyd ’20 to her upcoming position as an allergist research assistant.
When Boyd, a biology major, interviewed at the allergy and immunology lab of Tanya Laidlaw ’98, Laidlaw recommended Boyd to Lora Bankova, another allergy and immunology specialist. That ultimately led to a job offer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Starting in June, she will be helping Bankova investigate the role of the nose’s and lungs’ brush cells in allergies and inflammation. (Brush cells are part of the epithelial layer in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.)
Hometown: Cambridge, N.Y.
High school: Emma Willard School (Troy, N.Y.)
Boyd is no stranger to biology research. During her sophomore year at Hamilton, she worked with Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Christopher Briggs to study blood parasitism and survival in Swainson’s Hawks, spending time in the lab and in California trapping hawks.
For Boyd’s senior thesis, she and Assistant Professor of Biology Andrea Townsend have been researching the extent and impact of inbreeding among crows in Clinton and California. “My thesis has been a particularly useful experience,” Boyd said. “I will likely need to use similar lab techniques in my position at Brigham and Women’s, so I’m happy that I’ve learned some of these methods through my thesis.”
Though she came to Hamilton expecting to major in anthropology or government, Boyd discovered her passion after taking an introductory biology course. “I’m interested in how things work, and biology gives me the opportunity to learn about everything from massive environmental systems to molecular pathways in the human body,” she said.
Boyd is thrilled to continue building upon her Hamilton education through her research assistantship. “I have no prior experience with immunology, but I’m excited because very little is known about the molecular mechanisms of brush cells in inflammation,” she said.