I am a medical student applying advanced microscopy techniques for understanding stem cells and their niches in the labs of Irving Weissman and Charles Chan. My dissertation work in immunology was focused on using 2-photon microscopy to understand immune cell dynamics.
Honors & Awards
NSF Graduate Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (NSF) (April 2011)
Minority Founder Scholar Award, Nashville Entrepreneur Center (January 2017)
Irving Finger Graduation Award, Department of Biology at Haverford College (May 2010)
Education & Certifications
PhD, Yale University, Immunobiology (2015)
BS, Haverford College, Biology and Philosophy (2010)
Systemic bile acids induce insulin resistance in a TGR5-independent manner.
American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism
2019; 316 (5): E782–E793
Bile acids are involved in the emulsification and absorption of dietary fats, as well as acting as signaling molecules. Recently, bile acid signaling through farnesoid X receptor and G protein-coupled bile acid receptor (TGR5) has been reported to elicit changes in not only bile acid synthesis but also metabolic processes, including the alteration of gluconeogenic gene expression and energy expenditure. A role for bile acids in glucose metabolism is also supported by a correlation between changes in the metabolic state of patients (i.e., obesity or postbariatric surgery) and altered serum bile acid levels. However, despite evidence for a role for bile acids during metabolically challenging settings, the direct effect of elevated bile acids on insulin action in the absence of metabolic disease has yet to be investigated. The present study examines the impact of acutely elevated plasma bile acid levels on insulin sensitivity using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps. In wild-type mice, elevated bile acids impair hepatic insulin sensitivity by blunting the insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production. The impaired hepatic insulin sensitivity could not be attributed to TGR5 signaling, as TGR5 knockout mice exhibited a similar inhibition of insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production. Canonical insulin signaling pathways, such as hepatic PKB (or Akt) activation, were not perturbed in these animals. Interestingly, bile acid infusion directly into the portal vein did not result in an impairment in hepatic insulin sensitivity. Overall, the data indicate that acute increases in circulating bile acids in lean mice impair hepatic insulin sensitivity via an indirect mechanism.
View details for DOI 10.1152/ajpendo.00362.2018
View details for PubMedID 30779633
Liver-derived FGF21 is essential for full adaptation to ketogenic diet but does not regulate glucose homeostasis.
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is expressed in several metabolically active tissues, including liver, fat, and acinar pancreas, and has pleiotropic effects on metabolic homeostasis. The dominant source of FGF21 in the circulation is the liver.To analyze the physiological functions of hepatic FGF21, we generated a hepatocyte-specific knockout model (LKO) by mating albumin-Cre mice with FGF21 flox/flox (fl/fl) mice and challenged it with different nutritional models.Mice fed a ketogenic diet typically show increased energy expenditure; this effect was attenuated in LKO mice. LKO on KD also developed hepatic pathology and altered hepatic lipid homeostasis. When evaluated using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps, glucose infusion rates, hepatic glucose production, and glucose uptake were similar between fl/fl and LKO DIO mice.We conclude that liver-derived FGF21 is important for complete adaptation to ketosis but has a more limited role in the regulation of glycemic homeostasis.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12020-019-02124-3
View details for PubMedID 31728756
Germinal centre hypoxia and regulation of antibody qualities by a hypoxia response system.
2016; 537 (7619): 234–38
Germinal centres (GCs) promote humoral immunity and vaccine efficacy. In GCs, antigen-activated B cells proliferate, express high-affinity antibodies, promote antibody class switching, and yield B cell memory. Whereas the cytokine milieu has long been known to regulate effector functions that include the choice of immunoglobulin class, both cell-autonomous and extrinsic metabolic programming have emerged as modulators of T-cell-mediated immunity. Here we show in mice that GC light zones are hypoxic, and that low oxygen tension () alters B cell physiology and function. In addition to reduced proliferation and increased B cell death, low impairs antibody class switching to the pro-inflammatory IgG2c antibody isotype by limiting the expression of activation-induced cytosine deaminase (AID). Hypoxia induces HIF transcription factors by restricting the activity of prolyl hydroxyl dioxygenase enzymes, which hydroxylate HIF-1α and HIF-2α to destabilize HIF by binding the von Hippel-Landau tumour suppressor protein (pVHL). B-cell-specific depletion of pVHL leads to constitutive HIF stabilization, decreases antigen-specific GC B cells and undermines the generation of high-affinity IgG, switching to IgG2c, early memory B cells, and recall antibody responses. HIF induction can reprogram metabolic and growth factor gene expression. Sustained hypoxia or HIF induction by pVHL deficiency inhibits mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) activity in B lymphoblasts, and mTORC1-haploinsufficient B cells have reduced clonal expansion, AID expression, and capacities to yield IgG2c and high-affinity antibodies. Thus, the normal physiology of GCs involves regional variegation of hypoxia, and HIF-dependent oxygen sensing regulates vital functions of B cells. We propose that the restriction of oxygen in lymphoid organs, which can be altered in pathophysiological states, modulates humoral immunity.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature19334
View details for PubMedID 27501247
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5161594
Immature B Cell Egress from Bone Marrow Is SOCS3 Independent.
2015; 10 (8): e0136061
Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-3 has been suggested to regulate CXCR4 signaling in a variety of human cell lines. In mice, conditional SOCS3 inactivation in hematopoietic cells including B-lineage lymphocytes has been reported to exacerbate CXCR4-signaling and focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation, which resulted in altered immature B cell distribution in bone marrow (BM) due to sustained α4β1 integrin-mediated adhesion to the extracellular matrix. However, a recent study examining conditional SOCS3 deletion specifically in B-lineage cells failed to detect significant roles in B-lineage cell retention in BM. In this study we carefully examined the role played by SOCS3 in CXCR4 signaling in developing B cell subsets. We show that in mice conditionally deficient in SOCS3 exclusively in B cells (Socs3fl/fl Mb1cre/+) there was no detectable difference in B cell development in BM and in periphery. We show that SOCS3 deficient and sufficient immature B cell subsets are similarly distributed between BM parenchyma and sinusoids, and are equally competent at exiting BM into peripheral blood. Furthermore, we found no significant differences in CXCR4 desensitization upon ligand exposure in developing B lymphocyte subsets. Consequently, SOCS3-deficient and sufficient B-lineage cell migration towards CXCL12 in vitro was undistinguishable, and B-lineage cell amoeboid motility within BM parenchyma was also unaffected by SOCS3-deficiency. Thus we conclude that SOCS3 has no detectable influence on biological processes known to be controlled by CXCR4 signaling.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0136061
View details for PubMedID 26274929
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4537204
CXCR4 and a cell-extrinsic mechanism control immature B lymphocyte egress from bone marrow.
The Journal of experimental medicine
2014; 211 (13): 2567–81
Leukocyte residence in lymphoid organs is controlled by a balance between retention and egress-promoting chemoattractants sensed by pertussis toxin (PTX)-sensitive Gαi protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Here, we use two-photon intravital microscopy to show that immature B cell retention within bone marrow (BM) was strictly dependent on amoeboid motility mediated by CXCR4 and CXCL12 and by α4β1 integrin-mediated adhesion to VCAM-1. However, B lineage cell egress from BM is independent of PTX-sensitive GPCR signaling. B lineage cells expressing PTX rapidly exited BM even though their motility within BM parenchyma was significantly reduced. Our experiments reveal that when immature B cells are near BM sinusoids their motility is reduced, their morphology is predominantly rounded, and cells reverse transmigrate across sinusoidal endothelium in a largely nonamoeboid manner. Immature B cell egress from BM was dependent on a twofold CXCR4 down-regulation that was antagonized by antigen-induced BCR signaling. This passive mode of cell egress from BM also contributes significantly to the export of other hematopoietic cells, including granulocytes, monocytes, and NK cells, and is reminiscent of erythrocyte egress.
View details for DOI 10.1084/jem.20140457
View details for PubMedID 25403444
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4267240
GSK3-mediated instability of tubulin polymers is responsible for the failure of immature CD4+CD8+ thymocytes to polarize their MTOC in response to TCR stimulation.
2011; 23 (11): 693–700
Although mature T cells divide and differentiate when they receive strong TCR stimulation, most immature CD4+CD8+ thymocytes die. The molecular basis for this marked difference in response is not known. Observations that TCR-stimulated CD4+CD8+ thymocytes fail to polarize their microtubule-organizing center (MTOC), one of the first events that occurs upon antigen activation of mature T cells, suggests that TCR signaling routes in immature and mature T cells diverge early and upstream of MTOC polarization. To better understand the source of the divergence, we examined the molecular basis for the difference in TCR-mediated MTOC polarization. We show that unstable microtubules are a feature of immature murine CD4+CD8+ thymocytes, which also exhibit higher levels of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) activity, a known inhibitor of microtubule stability. Importantly, CD4+CD8+ thymocytes gained the ability to polarize their MTOC in response to TCR signals when GSK3 activity was inhibited. GSK3 inhibition also abrogated TCR-mediated apoptosis of immature thymocytes. Together, our results suggest that a developmentally regulated difference in GSK3 activity has a major influence on immature CD4+CD8+ thymocyte versus mature T-cell responses to TCR stimulation.
View details for DOI 10.1093/intimm/dxr076
View details for PubMedID 21937454
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3203681