2005 Ph.D. Neuroscience; Washington State University, Pullman, WA
2001 B.S. Biology; Eastern Oregon University, LaGrande, OR
Honors and Awards2007-2010 NIH F32 Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship
2003-2006 Poncin Scholar
2001-2003 ARCS Fellowship
Prior Academic Appointments
2010-2012 Research Assistant Professor, IPN, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
2006-2010 Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology & Pharmacology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
Our laboratory investigates the peripheral and central neurocircuitry that provides critical controls of food intake and energy homeostasis. In the caudal brainstem, the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) integrates vagal afferent information arriving from across visceral organ systems to initiate homeostatic reflex pathways, including those essential for the controls of food intake. Centrally, vagal afferents converge to form the solitary tract (ST) and contact second order NTS neurons via strong excitatory glutamatergic synapses. A major focus of ongoing work is to understand the pre- and post-synaptic controls of this first central synapse. We use a combination of in vivo and in vitro experimental approaches, including; primary culture, patch-clamp electrophysiology, and fluorescent calcium imaging.
Recently we have been actively pursuing the contribution of thermosensitive TRP channels in the control neuronal activation and central glutamate release. Delineation of the endogenous cellular mechanisms underlying TRP channel activation and their role in the control of food intake are the primary ongoing projects in the lab.