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Associate Professor

University of Central Oklahoma

Classes Taught

BIO2203 Cell Biology (Spring/Fall)

BIO2211 Cell Biology Lab (Fall)

BIO4134/5134 Developmental Biology (Spring)

Education and Certifications

B. S. Biology, Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Ph.D. Integrated Biomedical Sciences-Genetics, The Ohio State University

Research, Published Work, and Scholarly Activities

Biomedical Lab Research

My research utilizes chick embryos to understand how heart development goes awry. Specifically, we utilize the chick to model the human disease Maternal Phenylketonuria (MPKU). MPKU is a condition that affects a fetus resultant from a mother with a genetic metabolic condition. The fetus is exposed to high Phenylalanine (Phe) and some develop heart defects. We conduct microdissection to isolate specific organ structures and in-vitro cell culture experiments to characterize the phenotype. We are working to determine the molecular mechanism by which an amino acid can cause a heart defect. We use cell and molecular techniques, genetic expression analysis, and histology techniques.


I am passionate about mentoring students in the lab, classroom and beyond, especially women and minorities. My students and I can be found working hard on a project but also enjoying life like having tacos together!  


*Watson JN, Seagraves NJ. RNA-Seq analysis in an avian model of maternal phenylketonuri Mol Genet Metab. 2019 Jan;126(1):23-29. PubMed PMID: 30600150.

Seagraves NJ, McBride KL. Cardiac teratogenicity in mouse maternal phenylketonuria: defining phenotype parameters and genetic background influences. Mol Genet Meta 2012 Dec;107(4):650-8. PubMed PMID: 22951387; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3504168.

McBride KL, Zender GA, Fitzgerald-Butt SM, Seagraves NJ, Fernbach SD, Zapata G, Lewin M, Towbin JA, Belmont JW. Association of common variants in ERBB4 with congenital left ventricular outflow tract obstruction defects. Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2011 Mar;91(3):162-8. PubMed PMID: 21290564; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3736588.

*denotes student


I was born in Enid, Ok to a long line of Oklahoma “Oily’s.” I grew up working cattle, driving tractors, and stacking hay alongside my parents and brother.I graduated from Woodward High School in 2002 with plans to eventually go to medical or professional school. I attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU) in of Alva  I LOVED undergrad because I could take the courses I wanted and be involved it lots of extracurricular activities. I got accepted in the SURP program at Oklahoma State University, where I got my first taste of bench research. I worked in the biochemistry department where I used the yeast 3-hybrid system to determine interactions between proteins and mRNA. I was hooked. I was so amazed that I was the only one in the world working on this project! In 2005, I moved to Ohio to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Sciences. 

After my defense I took a Post-doctoral position working on a lung inflammation model at the Research Institute at Nationwide children’s Hospital in Columbus. I started my career at UCO in August 2013. My colleagues here in the department of Biology and College of Mathematics and Science have been so supportive.  I have enjoyed working with students in the classroom and my research Lab. 

My husband, Kevin, and I have been together since middle school.  We welcomed our daughter Finley Jo in September 2018. We live on some acreage and have 3 miniature donkeys (Javier, Gabriella, and Josephina) and 3 dogs (Macy, Sasha, and Pixie).  On the weekends I enjoy crocheting, watching movies, or being outdoors, kayaking, fishing and hiking. 

Professional and Community Involvement

Society of Developmental Biology

Sigma Xi

American Association of University Professors

Beta Beta Beta Honor Society 

  • UCO Psi Mu Chapter Advisor

Hispanic Success Initiative

  • Faculty Mentor

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