Research

  • Education: I earned my bachelor’s of science degree in Biological Psychology at the University of California, Davis in 2013, then was a research technician at the California National Primate Research Center until I joined the Kinzig research group at Purdue University in 2016. I earned my master’s of science degree in Dr. Kinzig’s lab in 2018 and continued on to become a doctoral candidate and continue my research.
  • My dissertation work isĀ in understanding how diets high in fat and sugar alter the blood-brain barrier in brain areas commonly associated with diet-induced neurocognitive deficits. I am using immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescent imaging to analyze blood-brain barrier disruption and neuroimmune mechanisms in male and female rats of different ages.
  • My master’s thesis work explored the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets in response to chronic stress, as it has been hypothesized to improve mental health. Follow up experiments were conducted to understand the behavioral and neuroendocrine changes of individuals that consume diets high in fat and sugar, then switch to a ketogenic diet as a therapeutic intervention. We found that the benefits of consuming a ketogenic diet may be sex-specific, such that positive effects on females are contingent upon ketosis.
  • Since those findings, my research interest shifted to understanding how diets high in fat and sugar may be differentially impacting males and females to begin with. It also shifted from understanding behavioral and neuroendocrine changes, to neurovascular mechanisms given that the blood-brain barrier is a brain-body interface that is less understood.