- Ph.D., 1990, North Carolina State University
- Postdoctoral Training - Duke University Medical Center
Preparing for a career in science is a fun, fascinating and some times unpredictable venture. As an undergraduate, I was a Psychology major initially interested in cognitive psychology. However, after performing some undergraduate research I realized that this field was not that exciting to me. During this same semester, a course in Physiological Psychology really caught my interest and helped foster my long standing interest in neurochemistry, although this interest was put on hold while I obtained a M.S. degree in Biochemistry and Ph.D. in Pharmacology. During this period, I studied the synthesis and metabolism of bioactive alkyl-linked glycerophospholipids lipids. My experience with bioactive lipids continued during my postdoctoral studies at Duke University Medical Center but switched to a new class of signaling molecules, sphingolipids. I was fortunate to have a strong mentor who encouraged me to tie together my expertise in sphingolipid signaling with my interest in neurochemistry. At this point, I joined the faculty at the University of Kansas where I started my research program on the role of lipid rafts as compartments for signaling via neurotrophin receptors. As changes in neurotrophin signaling are known to contribute to nerve degeneration in diabetic neuropathy, we extended our work to diabetic animal and cell culture models, which is the current thrust in the lab.