Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas
Dissertation Project: BMP/BMPR axis in atherosclerosis
The vascular endothelium functions as an interactive barrier between the circulating blood and vessel wall. In response to injury, the endothelium can be activated resulting in an inflammatory response. There is a multitude of etiological factors, both genetic and environmental, that can cause the injury. Inflammation is one of the initial events in atherosclerotic disease, and regions of the arteries have been identified that are more prone to atheroma formations. These regions occur where there are bifurcations or branching and consequently disturbed/oscillatory blood flow (OS). Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) has been identified as a pro-inflammatory molecule and is up-regulated in OS regions. The project I am currently working on examines how the inflammatory response is regulated in these areas, and more specifically how the inflammatory response in endothelial cells is regulated by BMP-binding endothelial precursor derived regulator (Bmper) through the BMP signaling pathway.
I joined the Pathology Department in 2011 after spending a year in BBSP. During that year I rotated in Cyrus Vaziri’s lab and Monte Willis’s lab and joined Cam Patterson’s lab.