Cross-Resnick First Year Fellow 2022
Madison is a first-year PhD student in geobiology. She grew up outside of Minneapolis and attended the University of California Davis, earning a BS in microbiology and a BA in political science in 2013. After graduating, she worked in Jonathan Eisen's lab, exploring the microbiome of the built environment (including the international space station) and publishing Swabs to Genomes, a primer on microbial isolation, extraction, sequencing, and publication. She went on to learn to code and joined DoorDash as a backend engineer.
In 2018 she began working at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). She worked as a software engineer on the Data Coordination Platform (DCP) for the Human Cell Atlas (HCA), an ambitious plan to sequence and explore RNA on a cellular level. That work transitioned into the cellxgene project, building data visualization tools that allow scientists without a software background to interactively explore the full range of RNA expression data for millions of cells.
At Caltech, she plans to combine lessons in scalability from the tech world with her microbial experience to build communities of microbes capable of efficient carbon fixation and sequestration at a gigaton scale. Madison strongly believes that climate solutions capable of scaling to an impactful size must consider long-term resource requirements at inception and ensure that they will not compete with humanity for already scarce resources such as arable land and fresh water.
In addition to the Resnick Fellowship, Madison has received the CEMI (Center for Microbial Interactions) fellowship and is a NSF GRFP recipient.
Faculty Adviser: Woodward Fischer