Positions

Graduate Student
Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US

Education

BS from University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Honors & Awards

People's Choice & First Prize (tie) BCM 3MT Competition
Cover Art Competition Winner
Best Student Oral Presentation
"Hippo Pathway Regulation of Retinal Regeneration"
1st & 3rd Place Image Competition
Poster Finalist
"Hippo Pathway Regulation of Retinogenesis"

Professional Interests

  • Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Regeneration
  • Müller Glia-mediated Retinal Regeneration

Selected Publications

Projects

Hippo Pathway Regulation of Mammalian Müller Glia-mediated Regeneration
Vision loss due to congenital retinal degeneration, aging, or traumatic injury remains a significant clinical burden. While retinal neuron loss is permanent in mammals, non-mammalian vertebrate retinae have an amazing ability to regenerate. To do so, glial cells in the retina called Müller glia (MG) proliferate and reprogram to a multi-potent state that can re-differentiate into new retinal neurons capable of vision restoration. Mammalian retinae also contain MGs and we aim to determine the reason why they are not also regenerative.
The Hippo pathway has been shown to negatively regulate regeneration in the mammalian heart, liver, and small intestine. We hypothesized that the Hippo pathway may have a similar role in the retina by preventing MG regenerative reprogramming. To test this hypothesis, we first determined that Hippo signaling is active during retinal injury. Using genetic mouse models, we bypassed Hippo signaling in mouse MGs which were then able to proliferate – a critical first step in the regenerative process driven by Müller glia in regenerative species.
My future work will determine whether the newly generated cells can become neurons to restore vision in blind mice.