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My doctoral work in the Prince Lab at the University of Chicago focused on a highly migratory, multipotent cell population specific to vertebrate embryos: the Neural Crest. In particular, I found a mechanism to confer polarity and directionality to the neural crest, the behavior of which has been likened to metastatic cancer cells. I used embryology, genetics, molecular and cellular approaches in the zebrafish model system, as well as evolutionary biology, to ask specific questions about how vertebrate embryos are patterned. For more info, please visit the lab website


As an MA candidate in History of Science, I focused on how to think about histories of coral reefs using many different kinds of coral research for a holistic historical understanding of the problem facing reefs today using work across scientific disciplines in the late 18th and 19th centuries.


For my second doctorate, I am building on my work on coral reefs in environmental history, and the history and philosophy of science—at the broad level, I particularly wish to engage with the difficulty and necessity of interdisciplinarity across the Two Cultures.


Peer-reviewed publications:


Ahsan, K. Inter-disciplinary Integrity: Genetic History & Paleobiology (in preparation)


Rocha, M., Singh, S., Ahsan, K., Beiriger, A., Prince, V.E. Neural crest development: insights from the zebrafish (Review) Developmental Dynamics, Vol. 249, January 2020


Ahsan, K., Singh, N. Rocha, M., Huang, C., Prince, V.E. Prickle1 and migration of zebrafish cranial neural crest Developmental Biology, Vol. 448, 1 April 2019


Gallik, K.L., Treffy, R.W., Nacke, L.M., Ahsan, K., Rocha, M., Green-Saxena, A., Saxena, A., Neural crest and cancer: Divergent travelers on similar paths (Review) Mechanisms of Development, Vol. 148, December 2017