Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dissertation Project: T Cell Dysregulation in Patients with ANCA Disease
I have been intrigued by the field of immunology, specifically autoimmunity, ever since I completed an undergraduate immunology course. As an undergraduate student, I was in Dr. Stephen Clarke’s lab studying the role of B cells in systemic lupus erythematosus. Upon completing my undergraduate degree, I spent two years at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). At NIEHS I was in Dr. Donald Cook’s lab studying the role of dendritic cells and monocytes in allergic asthma.
During my year in BBSP, I rotated with Dr. Falk in Pathology, Dr. Jonathan Serody in Microbiology and Immunology, and Dr. Jonathon Homeister in Pathology. With my initial rotation in Dr. Falk’s lab, I established the initial findings of regulatory T cell alterations in patients with ANCA disease. My rotation with Dr. Serody encompassed two projects, 1) developing a Venezuelan equine encephalitis replicon particle (VRP) specific for gp100, a target of melanoma and 2) utilizing B-cell activating factor (BAFF) to elicit a B cell response in conjuction with a neuET-VRP in a murine model of breast cancer. During my rotation with Dr. Homeister, my project was aimed at delineating the cellular source of IL-17 from mice deficient in fucosyltransferases IV and VII.
My dissertation project in Dr. Ronald Falk’s lab is aimed at determining the role of CD4+ T cells in patients with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibody (ANCA) disease. The project encompasses two broad areas, 1) understanding regulatory T cells in ANCA disease and why these cells do not properly function and 2) how effector CD4+ are dysregulated and cause inflammation in ANCA disease. Interestingly, some of my T cell findings in patients with ANCA disease are also common to other autoimmune diseases (SLE, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis) and the alloimmune processes occurring in patients with kidney transplants.
Click here for a list of publications from the Falk laboratory.