Dr. Toni West is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Willerson Center for Cardiovascular Modeling and Simulation at the University of Texas, Austin, where she is a fellow of the American Heart Association. Her current research focuses on finding druggable targets for treating heart valve disease. She received her Ph.D. in 2018 from UC Davis in Biochemistry; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, where her research focused on unraveling the molecular mechanisms that underlie diabetic cardiomyopathy.
Before going back to school for her Ph.D., Toni was a secondary science teacher: first at Dripping Springs High School for 5 years, and then Summa Middle School for the gifted and talented (Beaverton, OR) for 7 years. During her time as a middle school teacher, she served as her school's science fair director and adult sponsor for Northwest Science Expo. She found the experiences that science fair offered for students were exceptionally meaningful and so she has remained active as a judge, mentor, SRC chair, safety checker, etc. through the years in hopes that more students will be inspired to solve real-world problems in our society.