department of human genetics
evolutionary genetics & cell biology
Della grew up in Savage, Maryland and received her B.S. in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. She then moved to Australia for a year, and became passionate about rock climbing.
Upon returning to the US, Della decided to move to Utah to pursue climbing. During her travels, she read Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, which sparked her interest in genetics and evolution. Della worked for Dr. Mike Howard for three years, studying selenoproteins. In particular, she studied Selenoprotein P, in which up to 17 UGA codons are redefined from the canonical stop codon to a selenocysteine insertion site.
After a couple more years of adventuring, including a year at Grand Canyon as a vegetation intern and several months of camping, climbing, hiking, and rafting, Della returned to the University of Utah as a graduate student where she joined the Elde lab to study viral and host evolution.
She continues to enjoy climbing, as well as hiking and biking in and around the beautiful mountains near Salt Lake.
Genetics Training Grant