Olivia Spicer follows passion for biotechnology to continue groundbreaking hormone research

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Olivia Spicer
Ph.D., Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences
Cum Laude
Hometown: Bayou Vista, Louisiana
Plans: Biotechnology researcher

The faculty at UMBC have allowed me to travel the world, conducting research, and to broaden my skills in biological research.

When Olivia Spicer crosses the stage to formally receive her Ph.D., she’ll do so as a scientist already recognized for groundbreaking discoveries in her field. Spicer researches targeted mutations in the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in zebrafish. These hormones play critical roles in reproduction.

Spicer’s doctoral dissertation focused on the molecular mechanisms of peptides (chains of amino acids, the building blocks of protein) in the brain that influence reproduction.  As part of her research at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology with Yonathan Zohar, she received the Binational Agricultural Research and Development (BARD) Fund Graduate Student Fellowship, providing her the opportunity to spend three months on research with a neuroscience collaborator at Tel Aviv University in Israel. In addition to travel for the fellowship, Spicer has attended numerous other scientific conferences and meetings to present her research.

Images: Spicer in the Negev Desert in Israel during her three-month fellowship; photo courtesy of Olivia Spicer. Portrait by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.