Positions

Assistant Professor
Department of Neuroscience
Baylor College of Medicine
McNair Scholar
Baylor College of Medicine
Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Baylor College of Medicine
Assistant Professor
Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Baylor College of Medicine
Assistant Professor
Program in Developmental Biology
Baylor College of Medicine
Faculty Senator
Baylor College of Medicine

Education

Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School
PhD from University Of Utah
BA from Southern Oregon University
Research Fellowship at Instituto Cajal - CSIC
Fellowship at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Honors & Awards

March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Fellowship
Parker B. Francis Fellowship
McNair Scholar in Neuroscience
Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award

Professional Interests

  • We study the molecular and genetic events that give rise to functional neural circuits and how those events may play a role in neurological disorders

Professional Statement

The overarching goal of our laboratory is to understand how the myriad of neurons and glia in our brain are organized into circuits that keep us alive and enable complex behaviors that may be disrupted in diseases ranging from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of neonate death in the United States, to panic disorder, the most common mental illness in the United States. On the surface, SIDS and panic disorder may have little in common. However, there is indeed a likely nexus in the neural control of breathing. In SIDS, defined as the death of an infant for which no cause of death can be determined, the current thinking is that in many cases there are small-unseen abnormalities in brain regions that regulate breathing, leaving the infant vulnerable. Conversely, a connection between breathing and anxiety has long been appreciated, such that breathing challenges are used in clinical diagnostic tests for panic disorder and this relationship is best appreciated in our common perception of a panic attack where a person breaths too much and risks passing out. Unfortunately, little is known about these critical breathing circuits that are also important in spinal cord injuries where the number one desire for quadriplegic patients is to breath on their own, or in neuro-degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS, where the ultimate cause of death is typically respiratory arrest. Thus, we aim to define the neural pathways important in breathing to understand how they may be targeted for therapeutic interventions and predicative diagnostic tests.

Selected Publications

Memberships

International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death
American Heart Association
Society for Developmental Biology
American Physiological Society
Society for Neuroscience
International Society for the Advancement of Respiratory Psychophysiology