"Living with family members afflicted with disease and neurological disorders, I have always wanted to dedicate my career to serving others, both through economical and medical means. As an undergraduate, I have come to understand that the root of every innovation in the field of medicine begins in the laboratory through extensive research. Despite the immense fractures that are present between medicine and those who benefit from its discoveries, the fact that our findings in the laboratory take us deeper in the search for therapies that will one day bridge the gap between disease and health gives me the conviction that the same is true for quality health care services that will one day be available to everyone. As a member of the University Scholars Program, I look forward to working with research professors and physicians to gain the tools and knowledge that are necessary to increase our quality of life. Most importantly, I look forward to applying my most important asset, my insatiable hunger, in working towards my goal of a more powerful and economical medical field, one that strengthens every area of the world, and leaves no one untouched."
Microbiology and Cell Science
Neurodegenerative therapy and its potential impact on neonatal Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and Focal Cortical Dysplasia.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
-Clinical Research Volunteer at Shands Pediatrics - Department of Psychiatry. Currently conducting studies regarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Tourette Syndrome, Volunteer at Shands Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Hobbies and Interests
- Playing the piano, traveling, and global health.
Comparison of Cell Death Patterns Due to Hypoxic Ischemic injury and Focal Cortical Dysplasia in Neonatal Mice
Discrete and global cortical injuries are the focus of much research, as these lesions cause a number of neurological diseases. Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a type of global cortical injury, is the result of a lack of oxygen and improper blood flow in the brain. Brain injury associated with hypoxic ischemia in newborns results in permanent disability, and in its most severe form, death. Based on current research, hypothermia and intensive care are the only methods used to reduce HIE damage. Unfortunately, neither of the two supportive methods is efficacious in the long term. As is common in neonatal HIE, treatments for discrete cortical injuries are specifically aimed at symptoms resulting from the lesions (e.g., epilepsy, seizures). Thus, dysplasia is inevitable. The fact that epilepsy is often drug-resistant adds on to the need for therapies that aim to prevent cell death and dysplasia. The lack of consistently successful treatments to treat brain damage associated with these cortical injuries signifies the immense gap between injury and cure; however, regenerative therapy seems very promising. The main focus of this project is to compare the impact of cell death on two different rodent models: an HIE global lesion model and a freeze discrete lesion model. Measurements of cell death patterns due to induced injury as they pertain to different cell phenotypes in the cortical and rostral regions of the brain comprise the major points of the project analysis. Tissue sectioning, immunofluorescence labeling, mounting, and counting techniques will be used, and the sections will be observed through an epifluorescence microscope. The results obtained from this project will open the doors to conduct further studies associated with potential therapies that could reduce the impact of hypoxic ischemia and other brain injuries to the most minimal consequences.