My graduate neuroscience training focused on repetitive traumatic brain injury (rTBI), with Dr. Zygmunt Galdzicki serving as my PI and mentor. Employing electrophysiological methods, we observed a remodeling of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs that both preceded and guided the presentation of hippocampal-dependent memory deficits.
Upon commencing my postdoctoral training under the mentorship of Dr. Gene Lee Bidwell III, I entered the training program in the Cardio-Renal Research Center (CRRC). The overall goal of my training was to accumulate expert knowledge in the field of pregnancy and preeclampsia research, while learning drug development methods, pharmacokinetics, and biodistribution analysis from Dr. Bidwell.
Presently, no effective treatment exists for preeclampsia, a gestational hypertensive disorder in which poor neurological outcomes account for the majority of perinatal and postpartum fatalities. More importantly, preeclampsia programs later life neurological outcomes in both the mother and offspring. While the current health care burden of preeclampsia exceeds $2 billion, this calculated cost does not account for these later life outcomes.
The primary aim of our research is to elucidate the pathophysiological mechanisms of preeclampsia that drives poor neurological outcomes in both mother and offspring. Our approach utilizes a well-validated rodent model of placental ischemia to catalog the neuroinflammation that is initiated by the maternal syndrome. Additionally, we combine electrophysiological and molecular biology techniques to observe how preeclampsia disrupts critical neurodevelopmental milestones in the offspring brain. Our long-term goal for this line is research is to identify druggable pathways in order to develop therapies not only for the initial neurological dysfunction, but also to reduce the risk of later life neurological outcomes.