"I applied for the Unversity Scholars program in order to encourage myself to become more involved with the projects that go on at my primary investigator's research lab. I hope to gain a better understanding and appreciation of medicine from an academic standpoint. My goals are to finish the project in such a way that it can be easily built off of in the future."
Food Science and Human Nutrition
Academically, I am interested in biochemistry and its applications in the medical field. By working with Dr. Heldermon for the past few semesters, I have become much more interested in the progression and treatment of lysosomal storage diseases.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Junior Honors Medical Program (2011-2012)
- North Florida Regional Medical Center (NFRM) Heal the World
-Over the summer, I went on a mission trip to Haiti with a local church. -Over winter vacation, I volunteered at an orphanage for disabled children in Faridibad, India. -I volunteered as a camp counselor in Camp Boggy Creek, a camp in Eustis, Florida, that allows children with an eclectic assortment of disorders to spend a week enjoying summer camp as any unaffected, normal child would. -I help to organize an annual 5K run in Ocala, Fl to benefit the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in numerous Marion County schools.
Hobbies and Interests
- Outdoors, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming, beach, competing in triathalons, 5Ks, half marathons, and adventure races.
The Effects of Genistein, Fosteum and Minozac on Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Levels in the NAGLU Mouse
My project is to be overseen by Dr. Coy Heldermon, assistant professor for the University of Florida College Of Medicine. The study I will be conducting will focus on the effects of three different drugs—Genistein, Fosteum and Minozac—on the neuro-degenerative effects associated with lysosomal storage diseases, specifically Sanfillipo Syndrome Type B. The mouse model for this disease is deficient in N-acetyl-glucosaminidase (NAGLU), which participates in the degradation of heparan sulfate. This model mimics the physiological and neurological symptoms associated with Sanfillipo Syndrome Type B in humans. The cells of NAGLU mice, as well as those of humans affected with Sanfillipo Syndrome Type B gradually become distended due to the accumulation of waste products in the cell’s lysosomes, and develop an inflammatory immune response. This immune response coincides with the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which exacerbate the degenerative effects of the disease. The experimental design involves treating several cohorts of NAGLU mice, some beginning at one month of age (time of weaning), and others at six months. Genistein and Fosteum are fortified the chow that the mice eat; control groups are fed untreated chow. Minozac is administered subcutaneously daily to mice that are fed untreated chow. Upon completion of 28 days of treatment, the mice are euthanized with carbon dioxide and their brains are harvested. Pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, specifically IL-1β and TNF-α (among others), in their brain matter are then quantified using ELISA. The goal of the experiment is to show the effect on levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and heparan sulfate accumulation in treated mice compared to the controls. A decrease in cytokines would demonstrate a potential treatment modality providing some amount of regulation to the degenerative neurological effects caused by the immune response associated with Sanfillipo Syndrome Type B.