My interest in diabetes began in college. Here, I had two externship opportunities at Baptist Hospital, in Nashville, TN with a Hospitalist/Critical Care service, gathering statistics on the readmission rate (return for the same diagnosis) and overall quality of care for diabetic patients. Having had extensive contact with patients themselves I saw the struggle that these patients undergo on a daily basis. After graduating from college in 2003, I became a technician in the laboratory of Christopher Ferris, MD, PhD. Here, I worked on developing a treatment for diabetic gastroparesis, a late-stage disorder that limits the transit of food from the stomach through the pylorus.
I decided to go to graduate school and joined Vanderbilt's IGP program in 2004. As a graduate student, I worked in the laboratory of David Miller, Ph.D. studying a basic question in neurobiology: How do neurons choose appropriate synaptic partners? We used a tiny nematode, C. elegans for these studies due to its simplistic and well-characterized nervous system. Here, we identified that the transcription factor, unc-4, regulates synaptic specificity in one subtype of motor neuron, by altering sensitivity to the morphogen Wnt. After receiving my Ph.D. in December 2009, I did a short post-doc with David Miller.
I returned to the field of diabetes by joining Mark Magnuson's lab in May 2010. My research interests include the development and differentiation of pancreatic progenitor cells and adult/embryonic stem cell differentiation.
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Key: MeSH Term KeywordAdaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Animals Axin Protein beta Catenin Caenorhabditis elegans Casein Kinase Ialpha Cell Extracts Cell Line, Tumor diabetes differentiation Enzyme Activation Gap Junctions Glycoproteins Green Fluorescent Proteins Homeodomain Proteins Humans Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins Models, Anatomic Motor Neurons Movement Nuclear Proteins pancreas Pyrvinium Compounds Recombinant Fusion Proteins Repressor Proteins Signal Transduction stem cells Synapses Transcription Factors transdifferentiation Wnt Proteins Wnt Signaling Pathway Xenopus laevis Xenopus Proteins