I was drawn to medicine by the personal relationships I developed with my physicians in Iowa, where I grew up. I saw how they applied their unique skillsets within and outside the clinic setting, and I appreciated their approach to medicine as a personal calling to serve the community.
During my medical training, I found myself gravitating toward clinical work focused on children and their families. I loved the creativity required to connect with children and found great fulfillment working with parents to improve a child’s health. I also enjoyed the emphasis in pediatrics on supporting and caring for the family unit. I gained a strong appreciation for the importance of education in patient care and found great fulfillment working with children at various stages of their health.
As I progressed in my training, I became interested in many of the clinical issues that affect children. With my training in immunology, I felt particularly suited to the problems encountered within the pediatric population.
I am board-certified in both pediatrics and allergy and immunology. My special interests are in food allergy, oral immunotherapy and eosinophilic disorders. I have a strong commitment to addressing pediatric immune disorders through a coordinated approach to clinical care and translational research. I strive to provide excellent clinical care guided by evidence-based decision-making and focus on giving patients and families the opportunity to participate in their clinical care decisions. I also offer patients and families the opportunity to participate in research, as many desire an opportunity to contribute to the advancement of medical knowledge.
In my research, my colleagues and I are focused on developing less invasive testing for pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Often, these patients are subjected to many invasive endoscopic evaluations, and there is a compelling need to develop less invasive biomarkers to evaluate EoE disease activity. My lab is trying to identify blood-based biomarkers that could reduce the need for many endoscopy procedures.
Oral immunotherapy is also an emerging treatment for children with food allergy. Unfortunately, few immunologic biomarkers can predict which patients will respond better to this therapy and track those patients having responses associated with long-term benefits. Our lab is trying to characterize early immunologic responses to oral immunotherapy to determine if these responses are associated with therapy outcomes and could be leveraged as biomarkers for predicting responses to therapy.
In my free time, I enjoy hiking, snowboarding and biking. In my late teens, I moved to Montana to pursue my undergraduate education and my love for the outdoors. I enjoy cooking and like to make different pasta dishes from scratch. I’m a family-focused individual and married with two children who are the inspiration behind what I do every day at work.
Pediatric allergy and immunology
Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Allergy and Immunology, Eosinophilic Disorders