My background lies within PET imaging of epigenetic regulators, specifically Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) enzyme activity, within the brain. My graduate work at Wayne State University focused primarily on the development of novel 18F labeled tracers for imaging specific HDAC enzymes within brain cancer (glioma, gliosarcoma, glioblastoma).
Here at Yale, my work focuses on neuro PET imaging of PTSD in humans and in animals to further understand the pathophysiology of this disorder. I am working with a new imaging agent that has recently transitioned to human use and targeting a specific HDAC enzyme, HDAC6, to develop the role this enzyme plays in stress pathology. Human cohorts of symptomatic PTSD and healthy controls will be imaged with this novel tracer (18F-Bavarostat) using PET to visualize the changes in enzyme expression between these two groups. Within concurrent animal studies, the work will focus on longitudinal imaging in PTSD and control cohorts with subsequent treatment using HDAC targeted inhibitors. The goal is to elucidate the role that epigenetics play within PTSD and understand possible what role, if any, epigenetic modulators could play in treatment of this disorder.