Spring Biology Graduate Dedicated to Finding a Cure | College of Science

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November 20, 2020

Spring Biology Graduate Dedicated to Finding a Cure

Diagnosed at 18 with Charcot-MarieTooth disease, commonly known as CMT, Allison Taylor ('20), who earned her biology degree this spring, has dedicated her life to researching a cure. The most frequently inherited peripheral neuropathy disease, CMT leads to muscular and sensory degeneration.

Beginning her career at UNT as a biology major, Allison originally planned to become a genetic counselor to help people affected by CMT find diagnoses. But she fell in love with research as a freshman, taking part in the UNT PHAGES program, Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science. The next summer, encouraged by honors college professor Tom Miles, she participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at Mississippi State University, where she studied proteins that malfunction and lead to CMT.

Allison grew up west of Lubbock in Smyer, Texas, and graduated first in her class of 16 students at Whiteface High School. She visited several universities but says "none of them felt as nice as UNT. When I toured UNT, I really enjoyed the warm and welcoming culture."

In her quest to better understand CMT, Taylor took part in the UNT PHAGES program as a freshman and then participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates the next summer. At Mississippi State University that summer, she studied the evolution of gap junction beta proteins. During her junior year, she joined neuroscience professor Jannon Fuchs' research group and began the work for her honors thesis, which centered around the Schwann Cells and their role in CMT. After graduation, Taylor joined the Neuroscience Postbaccalaureate Initiative at Oregon Health and Science University.

To read more about Allison's story, check out her Great Grad profile at https://cos.unt.edu/news/2020-great-grads-unt-biology-major-allison-taylor