In 2005 I earned my B.S. in Biology from Fayetteville St. University. Prior to entering graduate school, I worked at Duke University as a post-baccalaureate research scholar in Ed Levin's lab studying the role of nicotinic receptors in learning and memory. Upon entering the Neurobiology graduate program at UNC in 2008, I joined the Hodge laboratory in the Bowles Center For Alcohol Studies.
Alcoholism is a disease and a major public health issue in the United States. Evidence suggests that escalated alcohol abuse is due to dysfunction of components of the central nervous system that mediate reward. My research focuses on determining the molecular substrates, neurobiological signaling pathways, and neuronal circuitry that mediate alcohol drinking behaviors. Specifically, I am investigating the role of multiple glutamate receptor subtypes in mediating alcohol reinforcement, relapse-like behavior, and the discriminative stimulus or “subjective” effects of alcohol. Further investigation of how glutamatergic signaling systems regulate alcohol-related drinking behaviors may lead to a greater understanding of the etiology of alcohol abuse disorders and novel therapeutic targets to treat alcohol abuse disorders.
2011 - Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) NIH Predoctoral Fellowship (F31)
2011 - RSA Student Merit Travel Award
2010 - Alcohol Center Director’s Meeting Travel Award
2010 - UNC OUR Graduate Student Mentor Support Award
2009 - UNC Curriculum in Neurobiology Training Grant Fellowship Awardee (T32)
2008 - Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) Graduate Fellowship (2008 - 2009)
UNC Neurobiology Student Representation Committee Member
UNC IMSD Advisory Board Member