2012, B.A. Microbiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
My research with Dr. Marco Bortolato focuses on Tourette syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by repetitive motor and phonic tics preceded by the premonitory urge, an intense feeling of discomfort that is relieved by the execution of a tic. Dysfunction in dopamine signaling underlies these symptoms; however, other features of this disorder point to a role of neurosteroids. These features include a marked male predominance and heightened stress responses. Based on these observations, my research has focused on identifying the interactions between dopamine signaling and neurosteroids, and, in particular, studying how dysfunctions in these systems lead to Tourette syndrome.