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Jessica Ayers

Jessica Ayers is a PhD student in the Molecular Medicine and Mechanisms of Disease (M3D) program at the University of Washington. Originally from Crystal Lake, Illinois, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. During her undergraduate studies, she conducted research in Dr. Donald Ort’s lab, contributing to the Gates Foundation-funded RIPE (Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency) project, which aims to develop genetically engineered crops to boost food yields for resource-limited communities. After graduating, Jessica joined Dr. William M. Grady’s research team at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, studying colon cancer through the use of intestinal organoids. Her research included exploring the role of the gut microbiome in cancer development and the impact of transcription factor expression on colorectal cancer progression. In Fall 2022, Jessica joined the M3D PhD program at UW, where she conducts her thesis research in Dr. Cory Simpson’s lab at the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM). Her work utilizes epidermal organotypic cell culture models to study rare skin diseases, particularly Hailey-Hailey Disease. Outside the lab, Jessica enjoys lounging with her dog, Xylo, and skiing in the Pacific Northwest.


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