Chronic inflammation underlies pathologies as seemingly diverse as cancer, allergy, and a festering wound. My research focuses on discovering the dysfunctional molecular signals and circuitry causing cells to become bad actors, and why some people are more prone to these problems than others. In the lab we do this by examining signal transduction in cells differentiated from adult stem cells, particularly mast cells, macrophages, immature myeloid cells, and different populations of mesenchymal stem cells. We also use in vivo modeling to observe the consequences of targeting certain pathways in inflammatory diseases. The lab's broad areas include (1) Mast Cell Biology; (2) Inflammatory Modulation; and (3) Immune Cell Dynamics in Cancer. Our ultimate goals are to better understand the diversity of innate and adaptive immune responses, and contribute knowledge to more individually tailored approaches for treatment.
Current projects include:
Signaling networks (esp. TGF-β1) and differential expression of myeloid cells during inflammation and in response to immunosuppression
Off-label drug uses and novel compounds, such as plant alkaloids and cannabinoids, for healthful resolution of inflammatory responses
Cellular & molecular mechanisms underlying complementary and integrative health practices such as exercise.
Trained immunity (a.k.a. "innate memory") of mast cells in cancer and autoimmunity
Targeting mast cell specific receptors during inflammation
Postdoctoral: Molecular Immunology, Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Ph.D.: Anatomy & Neurobiology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA
B.S.: Biology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
American Association of Immunologists
Society for Leukocyte Biology
American Association for Anatomy
American Association for the Advancement of Science
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