Research Focus

Thesis Project Title: Investigation of the Role of Inflammasomes in Q fever Pathogenesis

My research interests have evolved to incorporate comparative medicine and pathology, microbiology, and immunology to study molecular mechanisms involved in host-pathogen interactions. As a veterinary pathologist with specialization in wildlife, zoo, and aquatic animal pathology, I am intrigued by mechanisms of pathogenesis during microbial infections in a variety of animals. Currently, as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Molecular Basis of Disease (MBD) Ph.D. Program at UW Medicine, I am studying these mechanisms in the context of Q fever; a zoonotic disease caused by the highly adapted intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii. My research focuses on the role of inflammasomes during Q fever in humans with focus on potential bacterial mechanisms that modulate this critical host innate immune response. This work utilizes murine models and human cells, immunological and molecular biological assays, and high-resolution microscopic imaging as well as traditional histopathology and immunohistochemistry. In addition to my Ph.D. research, I hold an appointment as a Senior Pathologist for the Department of Comparative Medicine where I perform diagnostic and comparative pathology services for several UW laboratories and external non-profit research groups.

American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) – Diplomate certification (2013)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV)
Histochemical Society (HCS)
International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine (IAAAM)
International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID)
Society of Marine Mammalogy (SMM)
Wildlife Disease Association (WDA)