Immune molecules for neuronal pruning and plasticity
As a postdoc at Stanford University, I am currently exploring new roles for MHC class I molecules in neuronal function and synaptic plasticity. I am following up on previous work in the Shatz lab showing that specific MHC-I proteins are expressed in healthy neurons and have important functions in activity-mediate synaptic plasticity. My work involves characterizing functions for non-classical MHC-I molecules in health and disease.
Gut microbiota dysregulation during chronic stress
My graduate thesis at the University of Virginia focused on interactions between the gut microbiome, the immune system and the brain, with the broad underlying question: could microbiome dysfunction cause or exacerbate depression symptoms? Working with a mouse chronic stress model of depression, I specifically addressed whether and how the microbiome composition and immune responses change during stress. In addition, I also aimed to understand how specific changes may mediate behavioral phenotypes.