Research Interests

Virus-Derived Anti-Inflammatories

In order to become effective pathogens, viruses have evolved exceptionally capable immunomodulatory proteins specifically for circumventing anti-viral immune mechanisms. In many cases, these immunomodulators display cross-species activity and can be "repurposed" as anti-inflammatory "drugs" for treating inflammatory diseases in humans. In effect, we can take advantage of the hundreds of millions of years of R&D that viruses have invested.

Inflammasome Regulation

The inflammasome is a multi-protein, caspase-1-activating complex which drives the primary innate immune inflammatory response. Inflammasome activation is triggered by a wide variety of stimuli, thus inflammasomes are associated with a wide variety of diseases (both sterile, as in myocardial infarction, and non-sterile, as in tuberculosis). How such a diverse array of stimuli can converge on a central inflammatory mechanism (particularly in the case of the NLRP3 inflammasome) is a central question in inflammasome biology. Understanding how inflammasome signaling is regulated can help to develop means of modulating the innate immune response to many diseases.

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Education

Ph.D., Biological Design
Arizona State University, 2015
Dissertation: Ion Flux Regulates the Inflammasome

B.S., Biological Sciences (Genetics, Cell & Developmental Biology)
Arizona State University, 2010
Barrett Honors Thesis: Automated Confocal Microscopy Assay: Studying Heterogeneity and Toxic Variability in Neoplastic Progression of Barrett’s Esophagus Cells
Summa Cum Laude

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Experience

Visiting Scholar

Alfred Lewin Lab
Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Alexandra Lucas Lab
Center for Personalized Diagnostics
The Biodesign Institute
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Research Fellow

Vijay Singh Lab
Departments of Research, Medicine and Gastroenterology
Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona

Graduate Research Associate

Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation
The Biodesign Institute
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Student Researcher

Enlighten 2010 Deep Sea Expedition
R/V Thomas G. Thompson
University of Washington

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Center for Ecogenomics
The Biodesign Institute
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

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Publications

Most recent first; Asterisks indicate co-first author.

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