Mentor: Dr. Barbara Smith
College of Public Health and Health Professions
"I am enrolled as a student in the Bachelor of Health Science Honors Program."
Health Science-Pre Occupational Therapy
- University Scholars Program 2015-2016
Order of Omega
Delta Delta Delta
- Camp Dream Street
- Best Buddies
- Gator Pals
Hobbies and Interests
- Helping Children/People with Physical or Mental Disabilities
- Visiting Elderly People in Nursing Homes or Rehabilitation Centers
- Hiking Wilderness Trails
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Analysis of Diaphragm Weakness in Neuromuscular Disease
Pompe disease is a neuromuscular disorder. Patients with this disease have major complications with breathing due to the build-up of glycogen in skeletal muscles and nerves that inhibits the diaphragm to work properly. However, gene therapy to the diaphragm has been used to help patients with Pompe disease improve their ability to breath for short periods of time without a ventilator. This research project suggests that gene therapy to the diaphragm may also help restore the strength and function of the diaphragm in mechanically ventilated patients. This project observes, with the use of MRIs, whether gene therapy to the diaphragm of mechanically ventilated patients with Pompe disease will enhance the movement of the diaphragm during short periods of time of breathing without a ventilator. My research project uses dynamic MRI to evaluate the coordination of diaphragmatic and chest wall muscle involvement in patients with Pompe disease, a rare inherited disease. In 30-60 second periods of time, we capture images of the expansion of the thorax during resting breathing and with slow vital capacity maneuvers. This type of analysis is an innovative and non-invasive tool for analyzing the ability of the diaphragm to descend during breathing, which traditionally could only be quantified by using invasive pressure sensors. The strength and coordination of the respiratory muscles is of considerable interest, since most patients succumb to respiratory failure. My work with this research project will contribute to the overall effort of our laboratory to validate this measure for therapeutic clinical trials in gene therapy.