Kassandra Ori-McKenney was raised across America, because her family was a bit nomadic in nature, but this lifestyle provided her with the flexibility to move in whatever direction science takes her. Early in her career, Ori-McKenney was given opportunities to work in India and Thailand that showed her the importance of coalescing the fundamentals of biology with the mechanisms of human disease. In this vein, Kassandra pursued a Ph.D. with Richard Vallee at Columbia University, where she studied how a mutation in the molecular motor, cytoplasmic dynein, contributes to neuron degeneration.
Ori-McKenney performed her postdoctoral work as a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow with Yuh Nung Jan at the University of California, San Francisco, where she focused on the nucleation, organization and regulation of the microtubule cytoskeleton during neuronal morphogenesis. In 2016, she joined the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, Davis, where her lab studies how signaling pathways converge on the microtubule cytoskeleton for proper neuronal development and function.