I have specialized in studying traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease research for the last 8 years. My goal is to determine the role of chronic increases of inflammation after brain injury and how it may induce dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. Traumatic brain injury remains a national health concern. Though fewer people are dying from brain injury, the effects of chronic brain injury on cognition and other behavioral outcomes still remain largely unknown. Chronic brain injury has similar pathologies and behavioral outcomes as many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and there is no way to prevent or slow down the progression of the disease. One aspect of both brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease that holds true in almost all cases is an increase in both peripheral and central inflammation. Discovering the effects of inflammation on brain circuitry and behavioral outcomes after brain injury can answer mechanistic questions on how Alzheimer’s disease progresses. This information can provide a window of intervention to reduce brain injury induced neurodegeneration and other inflammatory conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
I joined the Translational Neurotrauma Research program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine- Phoenix under the director, Dr. Jonathan Lifshitz, after I received my PhD from the Cleveland Clinic’s Molecular medicine program. In my time in the lab, I have shown that TBI is not only a central injury; there is a large peripheral component to brain injury that can exasperate chronic conditions. This peripheral component is largely overlooked, specifically the effects of peripheral inflammation on the injured brain. I plan on continuing my work in peripheral inflammation after brain injury throughout my fellowship.
Though my fellowship is through the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute for Aging in Tuscan, I live and work in Phoenix. My time in Arizona so far has been a great experience, and I am excited to see what the next year of my fellowship brings.