Allison Kirk’s interest in biomedical research began during her undergraduate studies and was reinforced when she participated in the Undergraduate Network Pipeline (UPN) biomedical research program at the University of New Mexico. She won an award at the UPN poster symposium.
Kirk earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology in 2017 from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. While there, she worked in the lab of Michael Heagy, PhD, studying the synthesis and fluorescence properties of panchromatic emissive molecules. Her undergraduate career also led her to peer tutoring, an experience that complemented her interests in biology.
Kirk currently works in the lab of Paul Thomas, PhD, Immunology. Her research topics include T cell receptor repertoires in infection and cancer and development of T cell-based cancer immunotherapies. She earned her master’s degree from the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in June 2019.
“Working in a research hospital like St. Jude marries my desire to actively perform research with my calling to serve others,” she says. “The school’s unique first-year schedule allowed me to devote my full attention to independently scheduled lab rotations and course work.”
Hometown: Corrales, New Mexico
Dissertation: T Cell Recognition of Gene Fusion Neoantigens
Honors and Awards
- 2020 F31 Ruth L. Kirchstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award
- 2018: St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Student of the Year Award (First recipient)
Bao L, Zou Y, Kirk A, Heagy MD. Electronic properties and electroluminescent OLED performance of panchromatic emissive N-aryl-2,3-naphthalimides. J. Phys. Chem. A, 121(51): 9708-19, 2017.