After receiving my Bachelors (2006) and Masters (2010) degrees at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, I obtained my PhD at Southern Illinois University in 2013. My current research focuses on the central nervous systems response to insult.
I am interested in understanding the complex cellular and molecular interactions that comprise the neuroinflammatory response to neural injury in an effort to develop therapeutic treatment options that produce the most optimal response to multiple types of neural insult and other neurobiological disorders. The World Health Organization reports that neurological disorders are one of the greatest threats to public health. Of the hundreds of these disorders, some of the most common are traumatic brain injury, stroke, and degenerative disorders. Although these disorders are initiated through different causes, the common underlying factor in all of these neurodegenerative diseases is neuroinflammation. The acute response is characterized by glial cell activation, oxidative stress, and edema, all of which lead to increased tissue damage. Chronic neuroinflammation is a sustained, self-perpetuating response that persists long after the onset of neural insult. There is a complex interaction between resident immune cells like microglia and astrocytes and infiltrating immune cells including neutrophils, macrophages, and T lymphocytes. This complicated response to neural injury is a defense mechanism to remove harmful agents and promote recovery, but when over active, it can contribute to further damage. My current objective is to identify the underlying mechanisms of the neuroinflammatory response in multiple different animal models of injury and neurobiological disorders. Ultimately my goal is to steer a group that is running preclinical trials on cellular and molecular compounds designed to reduce the harmful features of the neuroinflammatory response but to harness the beneficial aspects.
Honors & Awards
NRSA Training Fellowship, National Institute of Health (Fall 2014-Fall 2017)
Master of Science, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (2010)
Bacharel, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (2006)
Doctor of Philosophy, Southern Illinois Univ-Carbondale (2013)
Marion Buckwalter, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor