Positions

Assistant Professor
Pediatrics-Nutrition
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US

Education

MD from Indiana University School of Medicine
Residency at Indiana University School of Medicine
Clinical Fellowship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Certifications

Pediatrics
American Board of Pediatrics
Pediatric Endocrinology
American Board of Pediatrics

Professional Interests

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Vitamin D Regulation

Professional Statement

As a pediatric endocrinologist, I am well trained in the medical management of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Although I have observed vastly different clinical phenotypes of obesity, I am unable as a clinician to effectively treat these patients with the current medical therapies. Thus, I am highly motivated to increase medical knowledge on the pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes and translate it into more clinically effective therapies, specifically for the pediatric population. During my clinical endocrinology fellowship, I was mentored by Drs. Randy Seeley and Darleen Sandoval, experts in the brain’s control of weight and glucose. I used the knowledge from their expertise to investigate the mechanism behind a common clinical correlation: vitamin D deficiency and different components of the metabolic syndrome (including obesity and type 2 diabetes). I chose to defer accepting a faculty position as a pediatric endocrinologist to invest additional time into research training. My research has shown an important effect of the brain in the weight-lowering properties of a commonly used adult diabetic medication, liraglutide. My current research projects stem from my interest in the role of vitamin D signaling in the brain to control weight and glucose. I am clinically involved in the Program for Healthy Bodies Clinic and the Endocrinology Clinic at Texas Children's Hospital.

Selected Publications

Memberships

Endocrine Society
American Association of Pediatrics
Pediatric Endocrine Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Projects

Central Vitamin D in Weight and Glucose Regulation
We are investigating the role of the vitamin D receptor in weight and glucose regulation. This includes the use of genetic mouse models as well as investigations of the interaction of diet with vitamin D receptor action.

Funding

Brain Signaling, Metabolism, and Obesity
Grant funding from USDA
CNS Vitamin D3 Regulation of Glucose
Grant funding from Baylor College of Medicine
Junior Faculty Development Grant
American Diabetes Association
This grant is aimed at uncovering the role of the PVN in the glucose-lowering effects of vitamin D in the brain.
Beginning Grant in Aid
American Heart Association
This grant is aimed at uncovering the effects of the vitamin D receptor in POMC neurons of the brain on weight and glucose regulation.