Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Research and teaching
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- neurological health
- blood brain barrier integrity
Our research program is focused on two central themes:
l) Deciphering key regulatory axes balancing beneficial vs. detrimental neuroinflammation; and
2) Engineering new optogenetic proteins and biosensors to manipulate and record neuron-glia/immune communication in the healthy and diseased brain.
Our primary goals are to understand determinants influencing whether local glia and/or invading peripheral immune cell populations promote or exacerbate neurological health and to harness this information to tip the balance in the brain to favour beneficial inflammation in neurological diseases. We are specifically interested in identifying novel signaling axes that influence phenotypic heterogeneity of local microglia and astrocytes, factors that affect bloodbrain-barrier integrity and the coordination of specific circulating immune cell subtypes into the brain, and the longterm consequences of these events on neural health.
By engineering new optically controlled proteins and biosensors we can manipulate communication between these cell types in specific ways to better understand molecular signaling cascades important for inflammatory polarization in the brain. Using animal models such as ischemic stroke and TBI that manifest a dichotomous neuroinflammatory response in conjunction with transgenic/knockout animals and our new optogenetic tools we are able to specifically identify pathways influencing inflammatory balance through flow cytometric immunophenotyping and RNA sequencing strategies. We are also employing in vivo multiphoton imaging to directly examine the spatiotemporal nature of brain inflammation to gain important insight into relevant therapeutic time windows for intervention. Combined with biochemical techniques our program examines neuroimmune communication from the molecular to whole animal level providing comprehensive, mechanistic understanding of how the CNS and immune systems interact in health and disease.
The Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases
- Lecturer. BIMS 8062 – The cerebral vasculature, University of Virginia, October 26, 2016.
- Lecturer. NEURO 0 – Introduction to cell signaling and pharmacology, University of Calgary, REALISE Program, September 13, 2016.
- Lecturer. NEURO 511 – 4th year Neuroscience Seminar, University of Calgary, March 2, 2016.
- Teaching Assistant. BIOCHEMISTRY 2002 - Topics in Biochemistry: Biological/Physical/Mathematics, University of Missouri, 2007-2010.