Personal Statement

I am a 5th year PhD candidate working in Michael Cowley’s Developmental Epigenetics and the Environment lab. My research focuses on the epigenetic role of cadmium induced fetal growth restriction and placental insufficiency.

After leaving a career in graphic design and web development to study biological sciences, I completed my Bachelor’s degree at North Carolina State University in 2017 before being accepted to the Toxicology Graduate Program. Since joining I have had the opportunity to share my research at multiple regional and national conferences, recently winning first place in the poster competition at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Mountain West Society of Toxicology and 3rd place at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Genetics and Mutagenesis Society of North Carolina. I have one paper in review focusing on the dysregulation of imprinted genes in response to Cd exposure.
In addition to my interests in toxicology and epigenetic research, I enjoy teaching and creating workshops which I was able to put into practice by participating in the Environmental Health Sciences Teacher Training Program during the summer of 2019. I addition the mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students in the Cowley Lab I have had the opportunity to guest lecture in GN441/541 at North Carolina State University.

In the future I hope to combine my research and communication skills with his history of graphic design to work with students, the public, and industry professionals to help make research knowledge accessible and friendly to positively impact human health, disease, and the environment. To learn more about my work, as well as the work of the rest of the Cowley Lab visit

Mark Simmers

PhD Candidate
Center for Human Health and the Environment
Department of Biological Sciences
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695