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The Children's National Research Institute

Research Profile

Research Interests

  • Muscle Biology and Diseases
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Genetics and Muscle Disease, Children's National Hospital, Washington, DC, (2017)
  • Ph.D., Molecular Biology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, (2011)
  • B.S., Chemistry, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, (2004)

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Genomics and Precision Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Biography

Right before I started grad school, I volunteered at a Muscular Dystrophy Association Camp where I worked with hundreds of kids with muscular dystrophies and other neuromuscular disorders. This experience forever changed my life.  It single handedly changed the course of my research career, one in which I am committed, passionate and unwavering towards the goal of finding viable therapeutics to improve the lives of kids with muscle diseases.

My laboratory has a strong focus on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a progressive muscle wasting disease caused by the absence of dystrophin protein. To restore dystrophin, a personalized medicine approach called exon skipping has been given conditional approval for treatment of DMD patients.  However, the amount of dystrophin restoration that occurs through exon skipping is inconsistent, and patchy.  In our laboratory we employ a variety of techniques to understand and improve dystrophin rescue in DMD. This includes investigating microRNAs that target and downregulate dystrophin, understanding the crosstalk between muscle and the immune system, determining how a secondary dystrophin deficiency might impact other muscle disorders and characterizing novel models of microRNA deletion that my affect the pathophysiology of muscle disorders. 


Awards & Funding

Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne         
Inhibition of exosome signaling as a potential therapeutic in DMD
It is unknown how inflammation is initiated and spread in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Our goal here is to understand how exosomes contribute to a chronic inflammatory state in DMD. The work performed here may repurpose an FDA-approved drug and provide new drug targets for DMD including microRNAs, exosomes and Toll-like receptors.
Role: PI

R01HL153054
Mechanisms of corticosteroids in dystrophic cardiomyopathy
The goal of this grant is to understand the impacts of steroid signaling on dystrophic hearts and to use this information to develop improved treatments for muscular dystrophy.
Role: Co-Investigator

Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne
Preclinical studies in a mouse model of Becker muscular dystrophy
This is a foundation grant that helps to support preclinical characterization and testing for an animal model of Becker muscular dystrophy.
Role: Co-Investigator