Principal Investigator, US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, Gunpowder, MD
• PhD in Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Dec 2000
• MS in Molecular Biology, Princeton University, May 2006
• BS in Biology, Wake Forest University, Dec 1993
• BA in Chemistry, Wake Forest University, Dec 1993
Immediately after graduate school, I entered active duty as an Army officer to complete a four-year service obligation incurred by an ROTC undergraduate scholarship. My first assignment was as the Chief of the Research Operations Branch of the Department of Clinical Investigations at Madigan Army Medical Center (Fort Lewis, WA). After deploying to Iraq from 2005-06, I was assigned to the US Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense (USAMRICD) where I held positions such as Branch Chief, Deputy Division Chief and Detachment Commander while building a research effort. In April 2010, I resigned my active duty commission and accepted a position as a civilian Principal Investigator at USAMRICD.
AWARDS AND HONORS:
• 2011 Top Podium Presentation, JSTO-Chemical and Biological Defense annual meeting
• 2010 US Army Research and Development Achievement Award
• 2010 Top Podium Presentation, JSTO-Chemical and Biological Defense annual meeting
• 2007 Presentations recognized as 'best in research' and 'best in innovation' at the ASUS meeting
Our laboratory is focused on elucidation of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of action of neuroactive biotoxins and alkylating chemical warfare agents, with the objective of identifying and testing therapeutic candidates. We have developed two biologically relevant model systems to accomplish these research goals: (1) highly enriched, glutamatergic neurons (ESNs) derived from suspension-adapted embryonic stem cells; and (2) vapor cup-based exposure of rabbit corneas to sulfur mustard. We are using the ESN model to study the molecular mechanisms of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) uptake and activity; as a potential animal use replacement to identify and quantify BoNT in complex matrices; to characterize acute neuronal responses to glutamate-induced excitotogenic injury; and to elucidate the mechanisms of action of other neurotropic agents. We are using the rabbit ocular model to elucidate the mechanism(s) responsible for the acute and chronic corneal pathophysiologies evoked by ocular exposure to sulfur mustard vapor.