Hometown: Edgewood, Kentucky
Undergraduate Institution: University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
Following graduation, I had the opportunity to work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as a research assistant for a year, which gave me the chance to learn about the great opportunities offered here. Not only do the clinical and research aspects of the medical center have a history of excellence, but they are continuously striving to excel and push the boundaries of the medical field, especially through collaboration and translational research. It’s easy to see that this goal is being accomplished as Cincinnati Children's has been consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation and is continuing to expand exponentially.
The underlying tone of hard work and the goal to constantly improve is what makes Cincinnati Children's a great place to work and learn. As a student, I get to learn from researchers at the top of a wide range of fields who are equally invested in educating me as much as advancing their own research. This mutually beneficial relationship is everywhere in the MDB program, which is full of kind and friendly staff and students. They make it easy to have fun while working hard!
As a third year student in Dr. Lee Grimes’ lab, I am studying the processes of both normal and malignant hematopoiesis by focusing on the transcription factor Gfi1. Normal Gfi1 function is required for hematopoietic stem cell fitness, myeloid progenitor homeostasis, and granulopoiesis. In fact, mutations in Gfi1 have been discovered in patients suffering from neutropenia. We have generated several mouse lines that harbor mutations in Gfi1, and are using them to investigate the mechanisms behind this human disease. Additionally, our lab has previously shown that Gfi1 is important in the regulation of microRNA that are essential for the survival of 11q23 translocation leukemia. We are currently working to further define the functions of these microRNA, and we are developing targeted therapeutics for translation into the clinic. The high impact research and powerful contemporary techniques that we utilize in Dr. Grimes’ lab makes my work as a graduate student both exciting and satisfying. As a future graduate of the MDB program, I know that I’ll be well prepared for my career in medical research.