Current Status: GRAD
Graduate Department: Neuroscience
Other Degrees: BA in International Relations, Pomona College; Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate, Agnes Scott College;
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
I enjoy running marathons and triathlons, competing in obstacle courses, playing with my four dogs, exploring local restaurants and breweries, traveling the world, and teaching
Effects of Changes in Energy Allocation on Brain and Behavior
While historically neuropsychiatric disorders like depression have been believed to precede the associated alterations in cerebral metabolism, our lab hypothesizes that cerebral metabolic changes precipitate changes in behavior. This hypothesis is particularly relevant in light of the growing obesity epidemic affecting over a third of American adults and 17% of children, and the potential for this metabolic disease to affect not only cardiovascular health but also neuropsychiatric health. We use a high-fructose diet model that produces hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia to examine the mechanisms whereby shifts in energy allocation alter behavior and stress responses. Current studies indicate that neuroinflammation associated with high fructose consumption may underlie some of these changes. Additional work has also examined the role of glucose transporters, altered cerebrovasculature, and the effects of high-fructose diet in a stroke model.
Leadership in MD/PhD Program: Southeast Medical Scientist Symposium Committee