It’s a strange experience to write a thesis. The experiments described herein are much more than just descriptions of scientific investigations. They are quite literally a history and chronicle of the past four and a half years of my life. This book will exist as a vivid reminder of the people I worked with, the people close to me, the events in my life and the feelings that I had. Even as I write these acknowledgements, I’m stirred by the memory of this journey. Although writing this thesis was very much a solitary effort, there are many people who influenced and shaped the course of this research, as well as shaping myself.

To begin, many thanks to Steve Bowley for taking on my research, providing guidance and support, for giving me the chance to attend numerous conferences and… oh yeah, for footing the bill. Thanks to Bryan McKersie, Peter Pauls, Alan Wildeman and Eva Czarnecka-Verner, past and present members of my advisory committee who guided me though this process. Thank you to Eva Czarnecka-Verner and William Gurley, who opened their lab and their homes to me over several months while working in their lab at the University of Florida. Thanks to all the members of the Bowley lab and friends in the department for their friendship, support and help with many aspects of my research. I should also mention Dave Walden who during my HBSc. took me under his wing, got me excited about genetics and started me thinking like a scientist.

A special thanks to Heather Shearer, a great friend and colleague, who helped me through the RNA-a-thon, a ridiculously large experiment that could not have been completed alone.
To my parents, thanks for buying me that 2001 kit. Through your wisdom and love, you set me on the path of knowledge and critical thinking, which has had much to do with where I am today.

And to those closest to me during this trip, Matthew, David, Tommy, Jake, Andrea, Jason and especially Leanne… a movie, a pint and a really good laugh, thanks for keeping me alive!

I know this sounds more like a last will and testament… and in a way maybe it is… may we always live in interesting times and to reiterate what a wise man once wrote in my high school year book “If you ever see a turtle on a fence post... you know it had some help.”