I'm originally from Cleveland, but spent my undergraduate years in Columbus at The Ohio State University. After graduation, I continued my studies at the University of Kentucky where I completed my dissertation research in neurobiology. I also pursued the Graduate Certificate in Anatomical Sciences at UK, thus developing my love of teaching anatomy.
I love being a faculty member at Gannon University. I like the close-knit community feel of the college, and the culture and attitude of Erie remind me a lot of growing up in the Westpark neighborhood of Cleveland.
When I'm not in class or in the lab, I like to spend my time gardening, sewing, reading, and cheering on the Buckeyes! My husband, Jason, is also a graduate of The Ohio State University, and you can find us glued to the television on Saturdays during football season.
My research focuses on neutrotransmitter signaling in the mammalian brain. I am interested in aging, and specifically, changes in neurotransmitter levels associated with aging. It is important to understand what happens to neurotransmission during the "normal" aging process, so that we can separate out those changes from any changes associated with pathologies (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease).
The area of the brain I focus on is the striatum. This area of the brain is important for motor movements as well as spatial learning and memory. One of the major regulatory neurons of the striatum is the cholinergic interneuron. These neurons use acetylcholine to modulate dopamine as well as other neurotransmitter systems in the striatum.
My research uses behavioral tasks and neurotransmitter measurements to correlate changes in behavoir with changes in neurotransmitter levels in a model of aging. I measure choline in the striatum using microelectrode array technology. This technique provides the advanced spatial and temporal resolution necessary to characterize in vivo choline levels in the striatum.
From a translational perspective, my research is important because a better understanding of changes in neurotransmitter levels associated with aging (and the potential effects of those changes on behavior) can contribute to improved treatments for neuropathologies.