PhDistance | WELCOME

Hi! My name is Ash, and I’m a marathon runner and toxicologist with a Ph.D. A toxicologist is someone who studies the potentially adverse health effects of chemicals.

I started this blog in graduate school to reflect on my experiences and have a space to practice my writing and science communication skills.

I attended the University of Rochester for their toxicology training program, which is housed within the Department of Environmental Medicine. I completed my thesis under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Rand. My thesis work used a fruit fly model to learn about methylmercury toxicity during muscle development. I learned so much and had an overall great experience, but I’m really happy to be done!

When I wasn’t in lab, I was literally running around Rochester. The weather was pretty wild there, given the city’s proximity to the Great Lakes. But, it was usually fun to be out there!

…and other times, it was not:


If it looks like I’m crying, it’s because I am.

During graduate school, I ran 5 marathons and 3 half marathons (see the Races tab). There were injuries, personal records, as well as other highs and lows along the way, and I’m grateful for it all.

I’m currently training for Boston, as you can see by the countdown to the left.

Running continues to keep me sane, provides a “reset” when I feel spun from work, and has led to wonderful friendships. It also gives me those infamous post-run endorphin spikes.

I will continue to recount my post-grad adventures on this blog as I chase after my athletic and career goals.

 Subscribe (email) and follow this blog to keep up as I run towards my goals and away from my problems!