We are interested in physiological addiction genetics and genomics to identify new drug targets for treating addiction/overdose.
My work has three main research projects with a long-term goal of identifying new drug targets for treating addiction/overdose. The first project is to dissect the role of the microbiome as a non-genetic regulator of phenotypic variation observed in the Diversity Outbred Mice. The second project is a response to the opioid epidemic, where we identify loci associated with opioid-induced respiratory depression through QTL mapping. We have identified loci, a locus-specific to the respiratory depressing effects of morphine, and two independent loci that are responsible for the survival time of mice in response to a lethal dose of both morphine and fentanyl. In addition to QTL mapping, I am using transcriptome profiling of respiratory control regions of the brainstem of Collaborative Cross strains to correlate transcript abundance with basal respiratory traits and opioid-specific phenotypes of the Collaborative Cross mice. The third project is focused on utilizing integrative functional genomics to identify addiction-related genes and pathways. This work is situated as the interface between in silico and in vivo studies, whereby data are mined and integrated, then tested using animal models. One approach that we have pioneered is to perform cross-species analysis by using GeneWeaver, a database and a suite of tools that utilize graph-based algorithms to identify convergent evidence from diverse datasets across numerous species to elucidate and validate genes' roles in disease.
2008 - Society for Investigative Dermatology Travel Award
2008 - Baltic States Summer School Marie Curie Conferences and Training Courses Fellowship
2007 - Arthritis Foundation Travel Grant
2006-2009 - Arthritis Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship
2004-2006 - Selection based on teaching skills, leadership and academic performance. NIH R32 Training Grant
2002-2003 - Arthur J. Schmitt Fellowship.
2002 - American Society of Plant Biology Travel Grant
2002 - Plant Physiology Travel Grant
2000-2001 - Charles O'Hare Fellowship. Selection based upon department nomination Cold Spring Harbor Course Scholarship 2001
2001-2002 - Marquette University Research Fellowship. 2001-2002 Selection based on quality of a written research proposal.
1996-1997 - Peter Mills Internship Fellowship. Selection based upon nomination from Natural Science Department