I am currently a PhD candidate in the Boger lab at the Medical University of South Carolina. Born and raised in South Carolina, I have loved science ever since I can remember and am fascinated by a world of things yet to be discovered in research. I became interested in neurodegeneration when my grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012. I confirmed my passion for research in neurodegeneration during my undergraduate years while volunteering in Dr. Heather Boger’s lab, after which I received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the College of Charleston. My ultimate goal is to help develop better treatments for patients with neurodegenerative disorders that can slow the disease and improve the lives of those living with these disorders. When I’m not in the lab I enjoy watching scary movies, baking, and swing dancing with my husband.
I will be presenting my research at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference in San Diego this November. My research is centered around developing a protective treatment for Parkinson’s disease in rats that may slow disease progression, and studying how our treatment is creating its effects. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder with approximately 50,000 new cases being diagnosed in the United States each year. Existing treatments for Parkinson’s patients, while effective to treat symptoms, do not slow the underlying disease progression, eventually rendering additional symptomatic treatment ineffective. SfN is an international meeting attended by leading experts in neuroscience that I would not otherwise have a chance to meet. Presenting my research at this meeting will provide an invaluable forum for discussion with these individuals. During the first day of the conference I will also attend a course on movement disorders, providing the opportunity to learn from and network with experts in my more focused field of Parkinson’s disease. Networking at SfN this year in particular will be vital. I am in my final year of study and will be building relationships to foster future collaborations and career advancement opportunities as I move forward this year.