Department of Biomedical Sciences
Member of the GSBS Faculty
3302 Gaston Ave.
Dallas, Texas 75246
Ph.D., Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (2000)
M.S., Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (1994)
B.A., Chemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (1991)
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry (2007-present)
Associate member, Christopher Reeve Foundation International Research Consortium on Spinal Cord Injury (2004-present)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Developmental Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2001-2007)
Graduate Student Research Assistant, Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan School of Medicine (1991-2000)
Teaching responsibilities include:
Biochemistry (dental hygiene)
Axons of neurons in the Central Nervous System (CNS) do not regenerate after a spinal cord injury (SCI) even though the axotomized neurons do not die. This is due, in large part, to the inhibitory nature of the CNS environment. We recently discovered that a repellant molecule called "ephrin-B3" that is required for proper corticospinal axon pathfinding during development is expressed in adult CNS myelin where it inhibits outgrowth of these same axons. This discovery demonstrates what had been widely proposed but not previously shown: that the molecular mechanisms used by the body to guide axons during embryonic develoment are reused to inhibit growth in the adult. We are currently investigating the signals that ephrin-B3 generates inside neurons through activation of its receptor, EphA4, to find out which of these signaling pathways overlap with those of other known inhibitory factors that also stunt axonal regrowth. We believe that the molecules involved at the intersection of these pathways may be targets for therapies aimed at inducing regeneration after SCI.
Our studies employ culture of neuronal cell lines and primary mouse neurons to explore the biochemistry and cell biology of specific signaling molecules and transcription factors. We also use genetically engineered mouse lines to model the effects of specific molecular manipulations on regeneration in experimentally induced SCI.