I am a pediatrician who specializes in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In clinical practice I take care of patients with cancers, immune deficiencies, bone marrow failure syndromes and other blood disorders.
The thing I love more than anything is when my patients laugh. These kids go through so much, and they never cease to impress me with their positive attitudes — even when they aren’t feeling well. I like to emulate their positivity and, whenever possible, make our visits light-hearted, fun and full of laughs. I want to know about their new hobbies, what TV shows they’ve been binge-watching and the pranks they’ve been playing on their siblings. Laughter is great medicine!
When I am not seeing patients in the hospital, I am in the laboratory and work as a physician scientist in the lab of Dr. Stella Davies. We are interested in learning more about the pathogenesis of BK polyomavirus infections. BK polyomavirus infects most humans and rarely causes any symptoms. However, this virus can cause painful bladder inflammation (cystitis) and permanent kidney injury in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. High levels of the virus in the blood have also been associated with thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA), a lethal blood vessel disorder seen in transplant patients. Our research uses laboratory infection models and patient blood samples to study how this common virus causes these serious problems in our transplant population.
We are also studying how to detect and prevent graft rejection in hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Graft rejection is thankfully uncommon, but patients who reject their transplanted grafts will need a second transplant, which is naturally more challenging and high-risk. We have identified promising targetable markers of graft rejection that we hope will improve our ability to detect rejection and intervene with novel therapies.
In my free time, I love sports and try to be outside as much as possible. Nowadays, much of my time outdoors is spent picking up after my children and doing yardwork. I originally grew up near Scranton, Pennsylvania, home of "The Office." During a large portion of my childhood, my dad even worked at the actual paper company in Scranton!