I am a third year PhD Candidate in biomedical engineering. I primarily work with Dr. Anjelica Gonzalez to create more complete models of the human microvasculature, especially the postcapillary venules. Postcapillary venules are composed of three primary components: endothelial cells (EC), basement membrane (protein and groth factor rich extracellular matrix), and pericytes (PC; vascular support cell). Neutrophils, the first responders of the innate immune system, attach to and migrate through postcapillary venules during inflammation. The majority of previous research has been limited by the fact that is focuses almost exclusively on neutrophil interactions with the endothelial cells in overly simplistic in vitro models. More recent research has indicated that the three components of the vascular wall each independently and cooperatively regulate inflammation and may be essential in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and diabetic retinopathy.
My work aims to create more complex and physiologically relevant experimental models of the human microvasculature. These models incorporate all three of native components of the postcapillary venules (EC, basement membrane, PC), the intercellular signaling that occurs between EC and PC, and mechanical forces such as shear stresses from blood flow. We hope that by using more complex models in immunological research that we will faciliate advances in autoimmune disorder treatment.
Outside of my research, I am a McDougal Graduate student life fellow, a member of the Graduate student assemly (GSA), and a member of the Advanced Graduate Leadership program (AGLP). I am highly interested in improving STEM education and scientific communication and am currently working closely with the Yale center for scientific teach and the Office of Public Affairs and Communication to help engage the public with the excellent research that is conducted at Yale. More personally, I love baking, traveling, and marine biology. I am originally from Portland, Oregon, but I have spent the last several years in the NE after completing my undergraduate degree at Brown University (Sc.B. Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2011).