I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan in 1999 and graduated with high honors in Cellular and Molecular Biology. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 2004. After an internship in Internal Medicine, I entered the Neurology residency program at the University of Pennsylvania. I then joined the University of Michigan as a clinical neuromuscular fellow in July of 2008, and completed a two-year research fellowship on a NIH T32 training grant. In July 2011, I became an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. I am the director of the ALS clinic.
My research focus is on the impact of environmental exposures on the development of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the potential interaction with epigenetic changes. Currently, we have only a limited understanding of the pathogenesis of ALS. Much of the research to date has focused on genetic causes of this disease but only 5-10% of patients have familial ALS. For the much more common sporadic ALS, I am interested in investigating which environmental triggers interact with the genome to lead to the development of this devastating condition. Epigenetic changes are those changes in the DNA that are not related to sequence changes but still affect transcription of surrounding genes. We believe that this type of alteration may be the missing link to understanding the mechanisms of ALS onset and progression, and therefore, may eventually lead to the first significant therapeutics in this field.