B.A., Wellesley College; Ph.D., University of Michigan
Visiting Lecturer in Neuroscience
Molecular neuroscientist with an interest in glutamate transporters.
As a new member of the Neuroscience program, I am excited to share my passion for neuroscience with students. I look forward to teaching the core courses, upper level courses, and laboratories. In the spring of 2012, I will teach NEUR 100 practicums and NEUR 332: Advanced Topics in Neuroscience: Neuropharmacology. The Neuropharmacology course will focus on how drugs act on neurotransmitter systems at the synapse, and how these effects impact on human health and pathology. We will then use this knowledge to learn about disorders of the nervous system, design theoretical drugs, and edit Wikipedia to educate others about Neuropharmacology. In spring of 2013, I will introduce a class with laboratory on glutamate neurotransmission. In this course we will investigate the roles of glutamate in health, plasticity, and disease.
My research background has focused on glutamate transporters. I graduate school, I studied glutamate transporters in postmortem tissue from patients with schizophrenia. I found alterations in glutamate transporters in schizophrenia that suggest an increase in extracellular glutamate in brains of patients with schizophrenia compared to control subjects. In my postdoctoral work, I studied the role of glutamate transporters in metabolism. I found that the glutamate transporter GLAST interacts with mitochondria, glycolytic enzymes, and the sodium-potassium pump, and found that about 10% of glutamate taken up into cultured glial cells is metabolized through the citric acid cycle. This suggests that glutamate transporters compartmentalize with metabolic proteins and organelles to support glutamate uptake and to use glutamate as a source of ATP production.
Outside of neuroscience I enjoy ultimate frisbee, hiking, visual art, and board games.