Departments & Organizations
My research interests focus on spinal cord injury (SCI) pathology, particularly mechanisms underlying neuropathic pain and spastic movement disorders. My long-term goal is to identify potential therapeutic targets and assess strategies to restore normal function after SCI, and provide useful information that may guide the development of more effective clinical therapies.
I’m particularly intrigued by the functional contribution of maladaptive plasticity and structural reorganization in the injured spinal cord. Though much of what we know about fiber and synaptic plasticity emerge from cortical learning and memory studies, little is known about the role of spinal memory mechanisms in pathologies that arise after injury.
Our recent work has demonstrated that maladaptive dendritic spine remodeling occurs in wide dynamic range (WDR) neurons located in the spinal cord dorsal horn. We have further shown that abnormal dendritic spine plasticity can contribute to neuropathic pain in models of SCI, peripheral nerve injury, and type I diabetes. Importantly, we identified for the first time Rac1-GTPase as a key regulatory signaling molecule of injury-induced dendritic spine remodeling and neuropathic pain phenotype. These in vitro and in vivo studies have employed a combination of technical expertise in anatomical analysis (e.g., fiber tract tracing, digital 3D reconstruction techniques, etc.), and behavioral and electrophysiological assessment techniques.
Education & Training
|PhD||Stony Brook University (2006)|
|BS||University of Rochester, Neuroscience (2001)|
|Postdoctoral Associate||Columbia University/The City College (CUNY)|
|Postdoctoral Fellow||Yale University|
Honors & Recognition
Travel Award, 12th World Congress on PainInternational Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) (2008)
Research Work Award, Public Education/Communication CommitteeSociety for Neuroscience (2008)
Keystone Symposia ScholarshipNINDS (2005)
Editorial Board Member (ISRN Pain) International Scholarly Research Network (2012)
Journalist and editorial service for commercial magazine AVI Publishing Inc. (2009 - 2012)
Biomedical Writer Phase Five Communications Inc./Grey Healthcare Group (2008 - 2010)