ABOUT ME & MY RESEARCH

Postdoctoral Fellow

Lab of Glenn M. Toney, PhD

Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology, School of Medicine

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Funding:

Current: American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship

              20POST25030003

              *Top score of all applicants in 2020 (0.11%)

Former: National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

    4 T32 HL 007446-35

Current projects:

1) Investigation of Neural Mechanisms Underlying Seeking Behavior

Goal: Identify underlying mechanisms involved in sodium-induced cross-sensitization of reward systems and seeking behaviors

 

Public health relevance: Salt is perhaps the most frequently abused substance in modern society. Because emerging evidence implicates the endogenous opioid system in salt appetite and need-free sodium intake, an unmet need exists for the identification of opioid-mediated mechanisms that prime reward circuits to support salt addiction. This project will use the primal need that mammals have for salt as a novel means to access and reinforce the circuit elements, as well as neurochemical and synaptic mechanisms, that promote addiction and seeking behavior for a variety of rewarding substances, especially illicit drugs.

2) Sleep Apnea & Opioid-induced Respiratory Complications

Goal: Investigate neurocircuitry underlying the propagation of sleep apnea-related opioid-induced respiratory depression

 

Public health relevance: There is an important interrelationship between opioids, sleep apnea, and overdose. Given that chronic opioid use dose-dependently increases sleep apnea in humans and that sleep apnea increases opioid sensitivity, patients with sleep apnea have a high risk in the clinic for opioid-induced respiratory depression and subsequent overdose. Thus, an unmet need exists to identify the neurocircuitry that underlies the propagation of sleep apnea-related opioid-induced respiratory complications. Understanding these neurochemical and synaptic mechanisms may lead to identification of safer therapeutic options for this patient population. 

EDUCATION

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Signaling Mechanisms

Protein-protein interactions involved in GPCR signal cascades

May 2017 - Degree Conferral

March 2017 - Dissertation Defense

University of Texas Health Science Center

at San Antonio

Ph.D. Pharmacology - Neuroscience Track 

Honors: Cum Laude

Opioid-mediated Analgesia 

Peripheral mechanisms of opioid receptor signaling that underlie analgesic and therapeutic effects  

Opioid-related Drug Abuse

Molecular mechanisms underlying neural circuits responsible for seeking and abuse behaviors

December 2010

Texas Woman's University

Degrees Obtained

B.S. Biochemistry

B.S. Nutrition

Minor General Science

Honors: Magna Cum Laude