B.S. Biology/ B.A. French, The University of Texas at Austin, 2009
M.D., UT Southwestern Medical Center, expected graduation May 2013
My exposure to research was in the field of evolution and phylogenetics in the laboratory of Dr. C. Randal Linder at the University of Texas at Austin. My projects included comparing DNA sequences from several hybrid species of the sunflower genus Helianthus in order to reconstruct the evolutionary phylogenetic tree and identifying the species of bacteria that make up the microbial community of central Texas.
I later joined the laboratory of Dr. Seema Agarwala in the field of developmental neurobiology studying signaling molecules and pathways that pattern the midbrain. In this lab, I sought to understand the changes in polarity of developing neurons as they transition from undifferentiated progenitor cells into differentiated neurons.
I spent several summers doing research at UT Southwestern with Dr. Joachim Herz in the Department of Molecular Genetics. My work in the Herz lab has included studying LDL receptors and their control of signaling pathways that are important for neurodevelopment and neurotransmission.
Current areas of interest/ research:
My latest project has been to study ApoE4, lipid transport protein isoform that is implicated in increasing the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In the presence of the ApoE4 isoform, a significantly lower number of NMDA receptors, which are important for learning and memory formation, are activated. It is believed that the reduction in the number of activated NMDA receptors may be indicative of the cognitive impairments that are found in Alzheimer’s disease.
Publications and Presentations
“ApoE4, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, modulates flux through NMDA receptors.” Journal of Investigative Medicine, February 2011. (Abstract)
“ApoE4, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, modulates flux through NMDA receptors.” Southern Regional Meeting, February 2011. (Poster presentation)
“ApoE4, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, modulates flux through NMDA receptors.” UT Southwestern 49th Annual Medical Student Research Forum, January 2011. (Poster presentation and abstract)
“Alternative splicing of ApoER2 is important in mediating activity- dependent synaptic plasticity.” UT Southwestern 49th Annual Medical Student Research Forum, January 2011. (Poster presentation and abstract)
“Differential AMPA and NMDA receptor activation may explain LTP changes in Apoer2 mutant mice.” UT Southwestern 48th Annual Medical Student Research Forum. January 2010. (Poster presentation and abstract)
“TGFβ family members are candidates for medial floor plate specification in the chick.” UT Austin Undergraduate Research Forum, April 2009. (Poster presentation)
“Balance of Apoer2 and Vldlr expression levels is a key regulator of the startle response in mice.” UT Southwestern 47th Annual Medical Student Research Forum, January 2009. (Poster presentation and abstract)
“Wise Interacts with LDL Receptor-Related Protein 4.” UT Southwestern 46th Annual Medical Student Research Forum, January 2008. (Poster presentation)
“MEGF7 Binding Assay.” UT Southwestern 46th Annual Medical Student Research Forum, January 2008. (Abstract)
Current professional trajectory: I would like conduct my medical career in specialized care at an academic institution where I can integrate research and medical practice.
"Words of Wisdom": Find something that you enjoy and stay involved. You never know when and where doors will open for you.