At heart, I am a Midwest girl born and bred in rural Illinois. My journey in science research began at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I earned an undergraduate research fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, studying thalamic brain pathways in the laboratory of Charles "Lee" Cox. In 2003, I graduated with my B.S. in Molecular and Integrative Physiology and left my midwest roots to set up shop in Portland, Oregon.
As a graduate student at OHSU, I worked in the laboratory of Agnieszka Balkowiec, where I studied how the nervous system pathways that control blood pressure and breathing develop after birth. As a result of my research, I authored two peer-reviewed research papers (see links below), presented at several national scientific meetings, and earned several awards, including a highly competitive research fellowship from the American Heart Association. In addition, I was even interviewed for TV (my 15 SECONDS of fame!), since my work may some day establish an underlying cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Although I am not currently engaged in laboratory research, my literature research endeavors continue. I make it my goal to better understand an equally elegant and complex bodily system, the immune system, because of JR's numerous food allergies (see Our Story). Currently, I am a faculty member in biology at Portland Community College, where I teach Introductory Biology and Anatomy & Physiology. It has been refreshing to see the "big picture" after such a narrow focus during my PhD years, and I absolutely enjoy sharing my love and passion for science with others. It is my hope that through this blog, my passion will translate to a better understanding for all who are dealing with allergic disorders. I eventually would like to return to the lab where I can be in the trenches of food allergy research, but for now, my life is happily (and crazily) filled to the brim with being an educator and a Mom to JR and Luke. Also, as most food allergy sufferers and parents already know, part-time cook is included in my list of many "talents." For the moment, our kitchen is my laboratory :). Happy reading!
My peer-reviewed, first author publications:
1) Neuroscience. 2012 Apr 5;207:333-46. Epub 2012 Jan 18.Glia determine the course of brain-derived neurotrophic factor-mediated dendritogenesis and provide a soluble inhibitory cue to dendritic growth in the brainstem.
, JLBrown AL, A.
2) J Neurochem. 2009 Jan;108(2):450-64. Epub 2008 Nov 29.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor in arterial baroreceptor pathways: implications for activity-dependent plasticity at baroafferent synapses.
, JLJenkins VK, Hsieh HY, . A