Shani Israel is a junior double majoring in Child Development and Medicine, Health, & Society. She is a pre-medical student interested in studying fetal and early life development in hopes of working with infants and children to improve developmental outcomes. Shani has been working with Dr. Elaine Shelton (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) to study the ductus arteriosus (DA). The DA is an essential fetal blood vessel that shunts blood away from the developing lungs and towards the placenta to facilitate gas exchange in utero. The Shelton lab seeks to understand the unique molecular and genetic regulation of the DA in hopes of synthesizing novel therapeutics for DA-related conditions. Most recently, Shani’s work has focused on determining sex-based differences in gene expression in the DA, with the hope of gaining a better understanding of how sex hormones may regulate ductus development and function.