Position title: Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Biosciences
Phone: (608) 263-5784
Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
Postdoctoral in Neurobiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York City, NY, USA
My independent research lab investigates the molecular and biochemical mechanisms that regulate synaptic structural and functional plasticity and assesses how aberrations in plasticity impact specific behavioral phenotypes, such as cognition. Further, my lab investigates how genetic risk factors for disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism impact synapse formation and stability in cortical regions.
The central goal of my laboratory is to delineate the molecular and biochemical mechanisms that regulate dendritic spine plasticity in both the normal and diseased brain. In particular, using animal models, I am interested in recapitulating the genetic and biochemical alterations identified in neuropsychiatric disorders to identify brain region-specific aberrations in dendritic spine formation, stability, and experience-dependent remodeling. I then aim to understand how these regional synaptic changes, in turn, contribute to specific disease-associated behavioral phenotypes. Finally, I am interested in understanding how environmental-based risk factors for neuropsychiatric disease interact with specific genetic susceptibility factors to produce synaptic and behavioral phenotypes.
Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Dendric Spine Formation, Synaptic Plasticity, Behavioral Phenotypes
My lab is committed to fostering a diverse research environment and welcomes and encourages diversity among its members. In fact, the majority of my laboratory members are from groups that are historically underrepresented in science. At least twice per year, my laboratory and those of three collaborators have an outside speaker talk to our groups about current topics in diversity and inclusion in academic settings.