Welcome to our Newest MD/PhD Students
Welcome to our newest students!
I grew up in Midland, Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University with degrees in Neuroscience and Biomedical Sciences. Throughout my undergraduate career I conducted research investigating the effects of mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in the lumbar spinal cord as a treatment for severe spinal cord injury under the direction of Dr. Gary Dunbar. I proceeded to complete my Masters in Neuroscience at CMU under the supervision of Dr. Ute Hochgeschwender. My thesis examined bioluminescent optogenetics as a method of simulating the lumbar spinal cord in a rat model of spinal cord injury. Both of these experiences have greatly developed my interest in spinal cord injury and I am eager to continue this work at the University of Kentucky. The Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, specifically the work of Dr. Gensel and Dr. Alilain, are what drew me to UK. Additionally, the resources and faculty at the University of Kentucky make it the perfect place for me to reach my goals as a physician-scientist. In my free time I enjoy playing soccer, hiking, disc golfing, cooking, and traveling with my girlfriend.
I am from Davenport, Iowa and went to high school in Pahoa, Hawaii. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech. While at Tech, I worked in the Tissue Engineering and Mechanics Lab under Professor Scott Hollister. I studied novel polymers for use in medical implants. Specifically, I explored the attachment and proliferation of cells on polymers as well as the aging and degradation of polymers.I was also the Golden Girl Feature Baton Twirler and twirled fire batons at the Georgia Tech football games. After graduation, I worked at Guide Therapeutics - a gene therapy and drug delivery start-up. At Guide I screened thousands of lipid nanoparticles for use in RNA drug delivery. I chose to join the MD/PhD program at the University of Kentucky because of the strong focus on multi-disciplinary collaboration in research as well as the warm and welcoming MD/PhD community. In my free time I enjoy playing with my cat Lani and fostering kittens. I also enjoy crafting, home decorating, and traveling.
After spending my early years in South Florida, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where I received a BS in Neuroscience from Emory University. My undergraduate career ignited an interest in research. During my second year, I joined Dr. Rilling's Laboratory for Darwinian Neuroscience, a biological anthropology lab. For the next two years, I had the opportunity to complete a thesis project focused on triggers leading to infant abuse.
My interest in clinical care developed more abruptly. During my final year as an undergraduate, a course involving clinical observation was recommended to me. After only a few hours of observing a neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis, my planned trajectory shifted. I was rapidly drawn in by patients, their lives, and their stories. The desire to connect the meaningful work done in the laboratory to the people it is designed to help took root. Concurrently, an interest in damage to and repair of the central nervous system was born.
Since my graduation in 2018, I have continued to conduct research, observe clinical practice, and educate myself about CNS injury. The Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky provides an excellent environment in which to develop my interests into a meaningful and productive career. I am enthusiastic to advance my passion for both research and clinical care further as an MD/PhD student at the University of Kentucky.
I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio where I attended the University of Cincinnati as a student-athlete, and graduated in 2017 with a B.S. in Neurobiology, and in 2018 with a Master of Business Administration. Being a student-athlete, I was the long-snapper for the UC Bearcat’s football team; this being a ‘specialist’ position, I trained to effectively perform my skills under high-pressure environments. Also while an undergraduate, I conducted research in the Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, & Microbiology department (MOLGEN) under Dr. Tom Thompson, where I led an investigation into the protein-antagonist interactions of several proteins within the TGFB protein super family; more specifically, how certain mutations in bone morphogenic protein-2 (BMP2) interacted with several antagonists, with the preliminary development of a potential therapeutic for those afflicted with chronic kidney disease (CDK). After concluding my athletic career with a tryout for the Cincinnati Bengals and graduating with my MBA in 2018, I joined Dr. Joe Clark’s lab as part of the UC Sports Medicine Team – Neuroscience Division. While training under Dr. Clark over the past 2 years, I led clinical research focused on better understanding and validating preventative measures, improved diagnostics, and neurorehabilitation for concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI), through neuro-visual training (NVT) methodologies. Using my subject matter expertise in NVT paired with my business acumen from my MBA, I started a company, Inneuractive LLC, with the goal of commercializing this research to make better cognitive performance enhancement training more affordable and assessible, with the long-term goals of establishing preventative measures, better diagnostic tools, and improved recovery times for those at-risk for sustaining a concussion or other TBI. I chose to move across the pound (the Ohio River) and attend the University of Kentucky because of how the research being investigated at both the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC) and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) uniquely parallel my research interests in TBI, neurodegenerative diseases, and understanding overall healthy brain function. I feel the University of Kentucky’s MD/PhD program is an excellent fit for me due to the breadth of research being conducted at these two cutting-edge centers and their implications of having large-scale impact. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching movies, writing scripts and comedy sketches, working out, and cooking.