2010-2011 INCBN IGERT FELLOWS
Physics & Astronomy
I am a PhD student in Physics. My advisor is James Thomas (Physics & Astronomy), my co-advisor
is Philip Heintz (Radiology). My research project involves exploring how lipid coated microbubbles respond to ultrasound,
and how this response depends on microbubble diameter.
In my previous career as a physical therapist, I spent many years caring for people with devastating
neurological diseases such as ALS (Lou Gerhig's disease) and Multiple Sclerosis. I hope to spend the next half
of my career searching for a means to slow or prevent these illnesses. My path has brought me to the University
of New Mexico and the lab of my mentor, Erin Milligan, Ph.D., in the Department of Neuroscience. My co-mentor is
Jeffrey Brinker, Ph.D., in the Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at UNM and Sandia National Laboratories.
We are investigating a means for improving gene delivery to the spinal cord by using nanoparticle platforms. Currently,
we are studying the gene for the anti-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-10, in a rodent model of neuropathic pain.
As part of my dissertation project. I plan to explore the use of pDNA-IL-10 loaded nanoparticles as a means to
slow or prevent the progression disease in animal models of ALS and possibly MS.
Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program
Nanoscience & Microsystems
After completing my undergraduate degree in physics at the University of California, San Diego,
I accepted a position in the Brinker Nanostructures Goup within the NSMS department at UNM. I currently work with
Dr Jeff Brinker performing various lab wizardry including bio-mimicry and bio-nano hybrid systems among other routine
(and occasionally unpleasant) grad student duties. My current project involves pairing living cells of different
types with fabricated nanostructures, which together form durable, versatile bio/nano-materials. Applications of
such devices include biosensors and platforms for the investigation of cellular processes. Outside of the lab,
I enjoys normal things such as skiing, brewing beer and art projects in addition to abnormal things like driving
Smart cars and wishing to one day become "that crazy old professor".
I received my B.S. in Microbiology from The University of Texas at Austin. I am a PhD student
in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. My advisor is Dr. Elaine Bearer in Pathology, and my co-advisor is
Dr. Steve Koch in Physics. Dr. Bearer and I are interested in axonal transport. This transport involves cargo attaching
to molecular motors that walk along microtubules. Much is known about how the molecular motors walk along the microtubules,
but comparatively little is known about how the cargo attaches to the motor. We are interested in elucidating the
mechanisms by which these motors attach to their cargo, and describing the biophysical behaviors of these cargos
in transport. We engineer organelle sized 100nm fluorescent nanospheres to display a uniform cytoplasmic surface,
inject them into squid giant axons, or an equally suitable model system, and observe through confocal microscopy.
Sophisticated Metamorph software then allows us to track these particles and describe their behavior. Elucidation
of how cargo is 'marked' for transport can potentially lead to better targeted drug delivery to the nuclei of rogue
cells, such as cancer cells, as well as reveal insights into neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's.
Physics & Astronomy
I am a PhD student working in biophysics; my advisors are Dr. Keith Lidke (Physics & Astronomy)
and Dr. Diane Lidke (Pathology Department, School of Medicine); my current research project is with laser line-scanning
hyperspectral microscopy, using quantum dots with different spectral emissions to tag and observe protein-protein
interactions in live cells with nanometer scale localizations. .
Nanoscience & Microsystems
I received my B.S. in chemical engineering at UNM and I am now a Ph.D. student in the Nanoscience
and Microsystems (NSMS) department at UNM. My adviser is Dr. Marek Osinski from the department of NSMS and my co-adviser
is Dr. Erin Milligan from the department of neuroscience. My research involves the synthesis, characterization
and bioconjugation of nanosized semiconductors known as quantum dots (QDs). By bioconjugating antibodies and enzyme
substrates to the surface of the QDs, I would like to utilize the surface sensitive fluorescent properties of QDs
as a way to detect "in vivo" bio-markers in the cerebral spinal fluid for the progressive neurological
disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Due to their high sensitivity, the QDs can act as nanosensors for
early detection of ALS.
I finished my B.S. degrees in Biology and Chemistry at UNM in 2010 and am now a graduate student
in the Biology department working with Maggie Werner-Washburne. My co-advisor is Heather Canavan in CBME. We study
yeast in order to better understand cellular differentiation, specifically the quiescent cells produced in starved
yeast cultures and how environmental/internal stimuli contribute to this process as well as what the differences
actually are on a genetic/proteomic scale.
Electrical & Computer Engineering
I received a BS in Biology and Computer Science from Trinity University, San Antonio Texas in
1997. I also received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston, Houston, TX in 2005, and am
currently working for my master's degree at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1997 I was
hired by Eureka Software Solutions of Austin, TX as a computer programmer where I worked as a consultant and integrator
of accounting databases. Currently I am working at the Center for High Technology Materials at UNM in Albuquerque
under a DTRA student research assistant grant. I am a member of the International Society for Optical Engineering,
and have won an IEEE/LEOS travel grant in 2007 to present a paper at CLEO 2007 in Baltimore.