Mackensie is currently attending Stanford University School of Medicine. She worked for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Nairobi, Kenya; Kampala, Uganda; Accra, Ghana.  She was a Clinical Monitor in the  Medicines in Pregnancy Registry program.  She was working with core WHO team to develop and implement a pregnancy registry that provides information on the fetal affects of medicines commonly used during pregnancy to treat malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other tropical diseases.  She was co-training a team of 20 Tanzanian physicians and nurses in study protocol and data collection. Mackensie was providing oversight and support to a total of eight hospitals in these four African countries. Her responsibilities included producing internal quality assessment reports for all study sites according to WHO standard operating procedures and initiating teleconferences with investigators and project managers in 9 countries. She was developing a maternal and neonatal health assessment tool to track improvements in health and quality of care in sites where a protocol has been implemented.

Hello and welcome to my page! I graduated from Wellesley in May 2008 with a major in Biological Chemistry and a minor in Economics. My time at Wellesley began in fall 2005, when I transferred here from Grinnell College.  Being able to do lab research during college was very important to me, and Wellesley’s emphasis on undergraduate research was one of the reasons I chose to come here.  Fortunately, I was able to start working in the Tetel lab at the beginning of my first semester and continued throughout my sophomore, junior, and senior years.

In the lab, I used rodent brain tissue to study protein-protein interactions between nuclear steroid receptors and their coregulators, using techniques including pull-down assays and western blotting.  During my senior year, we decided to use mouse tissue in many of our studies, so I worked to convert many of our protocols to work with our new model.  My work on this project fits in with the overall goals of the lab, which are to explore how hormones work in the brain and study hormone-dependent diseases and the link between genes and behavior.

In the spring of my senior year, I received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for a year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States.  My project, entitled, “Cleft lip to clubfoot: Cultural constructions of congenital anomalies” took me to Argentina, China, Ghana, India, and Ireland.  Through hospital observerships and interviews with physicians, patients, and advocacy groups, I explored how culturally-engendered attitudes toward people with congenital anomalies, together with existing healthcare resources, affect availability of and access to medical services that detect, treat, and prevent  birth defects.  Toward the end of my fellowship, I worked with Ghanaian health care professionals to design a birth defects surveillance model for developing countries and to implement such a program in Ghana.

I returned from my Watson fellowship in July 2009 and now work for a non-profit research foundation in New York City that is focused on accelerating the development of a treatment for a pediatric neuromuscular disease.  In addition to my work at the foundation, I will soon begin the medical school application process for entrance in fall 2011.  One of my top goals for the future is to become a physician practicing in academic medicine, which will allow me to see patients, teach students, and conduct research.  In the years to come, I plan to work to improve healthcare and eliminate health disparities in underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world.

If you have any questions or want to contact me, I can be reached by email at  Thanks for reading.



Previous Research:

  • Neuroscience Program , Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
    Research assistant, 2005-2008
    Mentor: Marc Tetel, Ph.D.
    “Protein-Protein Interactions between Steroid Receptors and Nuclear Receptor Co-activators from Brain”
    ~ Ovariectomized rats, extracted and purified proteins from specific brain regions from rodents, using tissue homogenization, gel electrophoresis, and Western blots techniques.  Analyzed data with image quantification programs.

    Im, D., Yore, M.A., Chadwick, J.G., Tetel, M.J. Steroid receptor coactivator-2 (SRC-2) from rat brain interacts differently with estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor subtypes. The Endocrine Society, 2008.

    Yore, M.A., Im, D., Chadwick, J.G., Tetel, M.J. Steroid receptor coactivator-2 (SRC-2) from female rat hypothalamus and hippocampus interacts differently with the progestin receptor isoforms. Society for Neuroscience, 2007.

    Tetel, M.J., Molenda, H.A., Yore, M.A., Im, D., Chadwick, J.G., Steroid hormone action: From the test tube to the brain. International Congress of Neuroethology, Vancouver, Canada, 2007.

    Tetel, M.J., Yore, M.A., Webb, L.K., Chadwick, J.G., Molenda-Figueira, H.A. Steroid receptor coactivator-2 is expressed in female rat brain and physically interacts with estrogen receptor (ER)α, but not ERβ, in a ligand dependent manner. Society for Neuroscience, 258.9, 2006.

    Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellowship for a year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States.

    Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Award, June 2007; Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant for undergraduate summer research, Summer 2006; Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant for sophomore research, 2005-2006.

  • Department of Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
    Clinical research assistant, 2006-2008
    Principle Investigator: Louis B. Holmes, MD
    Interviewed mothers of newborns with congenital anomalies. Studied  prevalence and risk factors of birth defects, trends in prenatal screening for and detection of congenital anomalies, and personal and group attitudes toward prenatal testing for major malformations.

            Helen Wallace Health Sciences Internship Fund, Summer 2007.

  • Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
    National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Intern, May-July 2005
    Mentor: Douglas Hirt, Ph.D.
    “Chemical modification of biodegradable polymers for biomedical applications”
    ~ Synthesized polymer ‘tissue scaffolds’.  Chemically modified scaffolds through UV photo grafting and liquid exposure techniques to make scaffolds biocompatible.  Cultivated and maintained cell cultures.  Seeded cells to scaffolds for observation.  Collected and analyzed data using fluorescent microscopy, ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, tensile and bulk property testing, and Excel statistical features.

             Presented research at the Wellesley Tanner Conference,
            November, 2005.

  • Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
    Summer research intern, June-August 2004
    Mentor: Simon Scott, Ph.D.
    “Survey of Blackberry Yellow-vein Virus in the Southeastern United States”
    ~ Collected infected plant samples from natural environment.  Extracted RNA, produced cDNA, performed PCR and gel electrophoresis.  Used spectrophotometry to determine DNA and protein concentrations.  DNA sequencing.  Introduced genes to plant cells using plasmids. 
  • Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
    Summer research intern, June-July 2003
    Mentor: James Coleman, Ph.D.
    “Viral-mediated gene transfer of GAD65 and GABA-Aα 1 in the AGS primed rat model”
    ~ Used gene therapy techniques to reduce seizure sensitivity in seizure-prone laboratory rats.  Injected genes to specific brain regions by stereotaxic brain surgery.  Collected and statistically analyzed data from seizure testing before and after surgery.  Performed immunohistochemistry on brain tissue samples.   Analyzed samples with fluorescent microscopy.

             First Place Overall, Greenville County Science and
            Engineering Fair (March 2004); First Place Intel Environment
            and Health Award (March 2004); and Third Place awards in
            both oral and written presentations in Medicine and Health,
            South Carolina Junior Academy of Science (March 2004);
            Participant in the Intel International Science and Engineering
            Fair (ISEF), Portland, OR, May 2004.