Professor of Biology
Office: Temple Hall 225
Ph.D. (Cellular and Molecular Biology) University of Iowa, 1994.
Area of Research Interest
My long-term interest lies in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the synthesis and release of neuropeptides from sensory neurons. A primary goal of my research is to determine the signaling pathways by which inflammatory and anti-inflammatory agents control neuropeptide gene expression in disorders involving the trigeminal nerve. Currently, I am studying the regulation of the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide gene (CGRP) expression in cultured trigeminal neurons, neuronal-like cell lines, in vivo animal models, and clinical studies. A major focus of my research has been to elucidate the cellular/molecular mechanisms by which antimigraine drugs and inflammatory stimuli that activate MAP kinase pathways regulate CGRP transcription, synthesis, and release from neuronal cells. More recently, I have begun to study the effects of CGRP on glial cells and neuronal-glial cell interactions within the ganglion under normal and inflammatory conditions and have initiated studies to identify novel plant compounds that block trigeminal nerve activation and thus, may be useful in the treatment of diseases involving trigeminal nerves.