- Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology
I received my Ph.D. in applied cognition and neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas, followed by postdoctoral training in neuroanatomy at the University of California Berkeley and NEOMED. I have taught neuroanatomy at the undergraduate, graduate and medical levels.
My laboratory examines how the neural circuits in hearing change as we age and which changes precede the onset of age-related hearing loss (ARHL). ARHL is associated with a reduction in the level of GABA, a key neurochemical used to communicate among neurons throughout the auditory system. The loss of GABA leads to a variety of hearing deficits, including impairment of the ability to detect fine differences in the timing of sounds.
Specifically, we are identifying age-related changes to GABAergic circuits and synapses in the auditory midbrain that occur before age-related changes to temporal processing that characterize ARHL.
Area of Expertise/Research Interests
We employ fluorescent and electron microscopy (EM) with multi-label immunohistochemistry to identify age-related changes to auditory circuits in the midbrain. A variety of antibodies to glutamic decarboxylase are used to label GABAergic cells and boutons. To determine the loss of GABAergic production with age in specific pathways, we use single molecule fluorescent in situ hybridization to identify individual mRNAs in each GABAergic cell. Traditional tract-tracing as well as intersectional viral tract-tracing are used to label auditory midbrain cells and their projections. Lastly, we use immunogold EM to identify excitatory and inhibitory synaptic morphologies.
- Ph.D. in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience, University of Texas at Dallas, 2008
- M.S. in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience, University of Texas at Dallas, 2003
- B.S. in Neuroscience, University of Texas at Dallas, 2001
- Medical Neuroscience/Neurobiology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Current Research in Auditory Neurobiology
Academic & Professional Activities
- University Faculty Council
- Electron Microscope Lab Director
- American Academy of Neurology-Student Interest Group in Neuroscience Faculty Advisor
- NIH/NIDCD R01 DC017708. Age-related GABAergic loss in the central auditory circuits. 8/01/20 – 7/31/2025
- GABAergic and Glutamatergic Cells in the Inferior Colliculus Dynamically Express the GABA A R γ 1 Subunit During Aging
- The Density of Perineuronal Nets Increases With Age in the Inferior Colliculus in the Fischer Brown Norway Rat
- Excitatory and Inhibitory Projections in Parallel Pathways From the Inferior Colliculus to the Auditory Thalamus
- Multiple Origins of Cholinergic Innervation of the Cochlear Nucleus
- GABAergic and non-GABAergic Projections to the Superior Colliculus From the Auditory Brainstem